REGISTRATIONS WITH THE SEC,
CFTC, FINRA AND FCA
SEC Registration

As a consequence of the “Dodd Frank Act” more and more firms have Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC) regulatory exposure and consequently have to register with the SEC. We have a specialist team that can assist you in becoming an Exempt Reporting Advisor (“ERA”) or a fully SEC Registered Investment Advisor

We aim to make the registration process as easy and painless as possible. We offer clients full SEC registration support, including drafting Form ADV1, ADV 2A and ADV 2B, providing tailored compliance manuals, compliance calendars and SEC compliance training.

Full SEC registration

Firms that cannot rely on an exemption must fully register with the SEC.

This requires the applicant to complete form ADV 1 (a detailed form about the advisor and funds managed), ADV 2A (fund brochure) and Form ADV 2B (biographies of key investment staff). While the format is quite structured, firms often need support in interpreting the questions and understanding the level of information required.

Optima has a range of options available to you from managing the end to end process of registering with the SEC to reviewing and advising on the registration documents. We create a tailored service based on our client’s needs.

ERA

Many smaller firms, with less than $150 million in regulatory assets under management, are able to rely upon the Exempt Reporting Adviser (“ERA”) exemption to avoid having to fully register with the SEC. Optima is able to advice firms as to whether they are able to qualify as an ERA.

Firms applying to become an ERA are only required to complete a subset of Form ADV 1. Optima supports many firms applying to become ERAs and often assists in the completion of the Form ADV 1 as well as developing appropriate policies and procedures.

Upon SEC approval, the firm will be subject to a subset of the SEC rules applicable to Registered Investment Advisers.

CFTC Registration

Our US team has extensive experience advising Commodity Pool Advisers, Commodity Trading Advisers, Introducing Brokers and Future Commission Merchants. We understand the impact of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) regulation and have developed a range of specifically tailored products to help support and advise our clients whether they need to register with the CFTC and if so, what they need to register as. We advise firms on the entire registration process from the necessary forms to complete, identifying the relevant Principals and Associated Persons, examination requirements, exemptions and providing the necessary compliance infrastructure to take the burden out of having to be CFTC compliant.

Post registration we can assist with your ongoing compliance requirements, such as NFA Form PQR, CFTC Form PQR, CTA Form PR, Annual Self Examination etc.

FINRA Registration

In order to undertake broker/dealer activities in the US, a firm must register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). This is a complex and time consuming process. Optima can provide firms with tailored service offerings ranging from managing the end to end process of registering; to simply reviewing draft applications, and everything inbetween. Our team has vast experience in managing FINRA applications.

We can guide you through the entire FINRA authorization process from start to finish. This can include drafting and preparing the FINRA application for submission, drafting your business plan, responding to queries from and attending meetings with FINRA, advising on regulatory capital and setting up an appropriate compliance infrastructure.

FCA Registration

In order to undertake investment business in the UK, firms are required to obtain authorization (Part 4a Permission) from the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). This is a complex and time consuming process. Optima is unique in having US and UK based experts in FCA regulation that can provide firms with a tailored service offering ranging from managing the end to end process of registering; to simply reviewing draft applications, and everything in-between. Our authorizations team has vast experience in dealing with FCA applications. We have longstanding relationships with the FCA and work seamlessly with other service providers.

We can guide you through the entire FCA authorization process from start to finish. This can include drafting and preparing the application for submission with the FCA, responding to queries from the FCA and advising you as a regulated firm. We aim to take the stress and complexity out of the authorization process to enable you to do what you do best.

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