The thought of books and records and their retention – what to keep and when a document may
be destroyed – can be a daunting task for any Chief Compliance Officer, Head of Operations, or
other senior business executive. Adding to this confusion, the SEC has not specifically
addressed when a firm may destroy such records; rather, only minimum maintenance standards
are provided. For example, Rule 204-2 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 generally
provides that certain books and records of an investment adviser must be preserved for a period
of not less than five years from the end of the fiscal year during which the document was last
used, with the first two years in a readily accessible place (e.g., such as in the adviser’s office) in
order to allow for prompt production.
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