SEC inspection unit names digital assets as one of its 6 examination priorities for 2019

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Committee Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has included crypto as one of its six examination priorities for 2019.

Every year, the SEC unit highlights six areas that present heightened risk to "the integrity of the U.S. capital markets," the report said. In addition to digital assets, the agency is also looking at anti-money laundering, cybersecurity, and select areas of FINRA, for example. "These priorities are not exhaustive and will not be the only issues OCIE addresses in its examinations, risk alerts, and investor and industry outreach," said the report, which went out just before Christmas.

The agency said the growth of the digital asset market and different market participants raises a number of concerns. "Given the significant growth and risks presented in this market, OCIE will continue to monitor the offer and sale, trading, and management of digital assets, and where the products are securities, examine for regulatory compliance," the agency said. 

"For firms actively engaged in the digital asset market, OCIE will conduct examinations focused on, among other things, portfolio management of digital assets, trading, safety of client funds and assets, pricing of client portfolios, compliance, and internal controls," the agency added.