How Vendorly Can Help Investment Advisors Meet SEC’s New Rule 206(4)-11 Requirements


In an era of heightened regulatory scrutiny, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed a new rule under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, Rule 206(4)-11. This initiative aims to fortify the integrity and reliability of investment advisory services by establishing rigorous oversight on the outsourcing of certain critical functions. Investment advisors will be mandated to conduct thorough due diligence before engaging a service provider and ensure continuous monitoring of such engagements under this new rule. The proposed rule highlights the SEC’s efforts towards safeguarding the interests of investors and maintaining the trustworthiness of the advisory services industry.

A Deeper Dive into the New Rule Requirements

The introduction of Rule 206(4)-11 marks a significant shift towards a more rigorous regulatory framework for investment advisers, emphasizing the critical nature of thorough due diligence and ongoing monitoring of outsourced services. These services, identified as “covered functions,” are services that are integral to the adviser’s compliance with federal securities laws. The SEC has elaborately set forth a step-by-step process to ensure that the outsourcing of these functions does not compromise the quality of investment advisory services. Here is an in-depth look at each step:

Evaluating the Necessity and Appropriateness of Outsourcing: The first step requires investment advisers to determine whether outsourcing a particular function is both necessary and appropriate. This involves an assessment of their internal capabilities versus the benefits of external expertise. Advisers must consider the implications of outsourcing, ensuring that any function outsourced is done with the objective of enhancing operational efficiency and maintaining or improving service quality.

Selecting a Service Provider: The selection process goes beyond merely assessing the cost-effectiveness of a service provider. Investment advisers are required to conduct a comprehensive analysis of potential service providers and their capabilities. They will need to assess their operational competence, resource availability, and the robustness of their risk management practices. This analysis must also consider the provider’s track record, the potential risks to client data privacy and security, and the provider’s commitment to compliance with relevant regulations. It is imperative that the chosen provider not only aligns with the adviser’s operational needs but also adheres to the highest standards of compliance and service delivery.

Periodic Assessments for Compliance and Performance: The rule mandates ongoing oversight of service providers to ensure their continued compliance with set standards and their alignment with the adviser’s needs. This involves regular reviews of the service provider’s performance, the effectiveness of their risk management strategies, and their ability to adapt to changes in regulatory requirements or operational demands. Investment advisers must establish a systematic approach for these periodic assessments, incorporating feedback mechanisms and performance metrics to ensure objective evaluation and accountability.

Understanding the Additional Proposed Amendments

In tandem with Rule 206(4)-11, the SEC is proposing amendments that extend the scope of regulatory oversight and record-keeping. These amendments highlight the necessity for investment advisers to establish and maintain a meticulous record-keeping system for managing third-party service providers.

Record-keeping Enhancements: The proposed amendments introduce a mandate for investment advisers to maintain exhaustive records related to their outsourcing activities. This includes a comprehensive list of all “covered functions” outsourced to service providers, the rationale behind these decisions, thorough due diligence documentation for each service provider, the agreements with the service provider, and detailed records of periodic monitoring activities. These records must be kept readily accessible, ensuring that the investment adviser can provide evidence of compliance for five years following the execution of a covered function.

Elevating Third-party Oversight: Recognizing the critical role of third-party entities in maintaining essential books and records, the SEC’s amendments propose that investment advisers treat these functions as covered activities, subjecting them to the same rigorous standards of due diligence and monitoring. Investment advisers will be required to secure assurances from third parties that they possess the capabilities to comply with recordkeeping requirements, provide unhindered access to electronic records, and guarantee the preservation of records, even in the event the relationship with said third-party ceases.

Form ADV Amendments for Transparency: Furthering the aim for transparency and accountability, the SEC suggests modifications to Form ADV. These adjustments necessitate that investment advisers furnish detailed, census-type information regarding their service providers. This move is designed to enhance the regulatory framework’s robustness by providing a clearer view of the relationships between investment advisers and their third-party service providers.

Vendorly: A Strategic Resource in Compliance and Operational Excellence

Vendorly, with its robust third-party risk management (TPRM) platform, is the perfect strategic resource for investment advisers seeking to navigate the complexities introduced by Rule 206(4)-11. Vendorly’s SaaS (software as a service) offering has been crafted by seasoned professionals in compliance and risk management. It transcends traditional vendor management by offering:

  • Enhanced Oversight and Transparency: Vendorly’s centralized repository offers unmatched visibility into all vendor relationships, enabling advisers to conduct and document due diligence and monitoring processes efficiently. This not only aids in compliance with the new SEC rule but also fosters a culture of transparency and accountability.
  • Dynamic Vendor Management: The flexibility and depth of Vendorly’s platform facilitate seamless vendor onboarding, rigorous vetting, and comprehensive monitoring. By integrating customized due diligence questionnaires and risk assessments, advisers can tailor their oversight processes to the specific risk profile of each service provider.
  • Contractual Clarity and Control: Effective contract management is crucial for maintaining healthy vendor relationships and ensuring compliance. Vendorly simplifies this aspect by providing a central repository for contracts, complete with alert systems for critical milestones, thereby minimizing the risk of oversight and enhancing contract lifecycle management.

Expanding the Scope: A Hypothetical Scenario

Imagine an investment advisory firm grappling with the complexities of ensuring compliance with the SEC’s new requirements while managing a diverse array of service providers. The firm turns to Vendorly for a comprehensive solution. Within weeks of implementation, this firm has a clear overview of all its vendor contracts, with automated alerts for renewal dates and compliance checks. The due diligence process is streamlined, with tailored questionnaires ensuring thorough vetting. Regular risk assessments become part of the operational routine, providing actionable insights that guide ongoing vendor interactions. This hypothetical scenario underscores how Vendorly not only simplifies compliance but also elevates the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the vendor management process.


As the financial advisory landscape evolves under the watchful eyes of regulatory bodies like the SEC, the need for robust, reliable third-party risk management solutions becomes increasingly critical. Vendorly stands at the forefront of addressing these challenges, offering not only a dynamic platform and software solution but also providing dedicated professional services designed to facilitate the onboarding, vetting, oversight, and maintenance of vendors as well as service providers. This comprehensive approach gives investment advisers access to both the tools and expertise necessary for navigating the new Rule 206(4)-11 requirements with efficiency and confidence. With a network of over 74,000 vetted third-party service providers, Vendorly can help simplify the process of identifying and engaging with reliable vendors, reducing the time and effort required for due diligence.

Investment advisers leveraging Vendorly can navigate the complexities of the modern regulatory environment with confidence, knowing their vendor management processes are comprehensive and conducive to sustained business success.

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