SEC Releases Updated Instructions for Form ADV Filings with Incomplete Information

In Form ADV and Investment Advisers Act Rules, Advisers Act Release No. 4509, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted amendments to Form ADV that have a compliance date of October 1, 2017. As of that date, any adviser filing an initial Form ADV or an amendment to an existing Form ADV will be required to provide responses to the form revisions adopted in the rulemaking.

Notwithstanding the new rule, the SEC staff has received inquiries about circumstances in which a filer determines that it must file an other-than-annual amendment to Form ADV on or after October 1, 2017, but before its next annual amendment to the form would be due, such as when a filer is required to obtain a new private fund identification number or update a Form ADV Part 2A brochure on the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (“IARD”) system.

To that end, ADV filers have raised specific questions about how a filer making an unanticipated other-than-annual amendment before the filer’s next annual amendment is due must respond to new or amended items in Item 5 and the related Schedule D sections that would otherwise be required to be filled out on an annual basis. Some filers have noted that, in certain cases, this information may not be available because previously it was not required to be reported on Form ADV.  In particular, how should an other than-annual filer respond if the filer’s books and records did not capture the data necessary to respond completely to new Schedule D, Section 5.K.(2), which asks for the amount of regulatory assets under management and borrowings in a filer’s separately managed accounts that correspond to ranges of gross notional exposure as of the end of the filer’s fiscal year? This is complicated by the fact that the IARD system will not allow the submission of filings with incomplete responses.

In the circumstances described above, if a filer does not have enough data to provide a complete response to a new or amended question in Item 5 or the Schedule D sections related to Item 5 during the period ranging from October 1, 2017 to the filer’s next annual amendment to the form, the staff would not recommend enforcement action to the Commission under section 207 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 if the filer responds “0” as a placeholder in order to submit its Form ADV, with a corresponding note in the Miscellaneous section of Schedule D to identify that a placeholder value of “0” was entered.