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About the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations

Jan. 18, 2014

The Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) conducts the SEC’s National Exam Program (NEP). The NEP’s mission is to protect investors, ensure market integrity and support responsible capital formation through risk-focused strategies that: (1) improve compliance; (2) prevent fraud; (3) monitor risk; and (4) inform policy. The results of the NEP’s examinations are used by the SEC to inform rule-making initiatives, identify and monitor risks, improve industry practices and pursue misconduct.

The NEP maintains a critical presence among market participants through conducting on-site exams, which provide the most timely, accurate and reliable information to assist the program in fulfilling its mission. The NEP has implemented, and continues to improve, its risk-based inspection and exam program by continually collecting and analyzing a wide variety of data about all registrants using modern quantitative techniques.  This risk analysis assists in the selection of registrants for on-site exams. 

NEP staff promote compliance with federal securities laws through exams, outreach, publications and, where appropriate, referrals to the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. 


National Exam Program - Offices and Program Areas

OCIE is organized into several offices and program areas to best support and carry out the mission of the National Exam Program (NEP):

  • The Investment Adviser/Investment Company (IA/IC) Examination Program. The IA/IC examination program is responsible for conducting exams of investment advisers and investment companies, such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
  • The Broker-Dealer and Exchange (BDX) Examination Program. The BDX examination program is responsible for conducting exams of broker-dealers, national securities exchanges, transfer agents, municipal advisors, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
  • The Clearance and Settlement (CS) Examination Program. The CS examination program is responsible for conducting exams of clearing agencies, some of which have been designated as systemically important financial market utilities. 
  • The FINRA and Securities Industry Oversight (FSIO) Examination Program. The FSIO examination program is responsible for conducting exams of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. 
  • The Technology Controls Program (TCP). TCP is responsible for conducting examinations of entities subject to Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity (SCI).  This program area also administers the SEC’s CyberWatch program, which is the primary intake point for information filed under Regulation SCI. 
  • The Office of Risk and Strategy (ORS). ORS conducts risk assessment, market surveillance, quantitative analysis, large firm monitoring and focuses on operational strategy in support of each of the program areas within the NEP.
  • The Office of Chief Counsel (OCC). OCC provides advice on law, policy, operations and ethics to examiners across the NEP; coordinates with other regulators; reviews proposed legislation and rulemaking; and serves as a liaison for investigations and audits of OCIE.