Category Archives: Fiduciary

SEC Brings Enforcement Action Against RIA for Allegedly Failing to Disclose Adverse Info About Promissory Notes Issuer

February 07, 2021

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently instituted a cease-and-desist proceeding against an SEC registered investment adviser firm and its principal for failure to disclose material information to a client regarding promissory notes issued by a third-party, which eventually was charged in June 2018 by the SEC with an offering fraud and placed under receivership in December 2018.   Click here to view the SEC order in this matter; the following is a summary of the SEC’s allegations in this matter, RIA Compliance Consultants, Inc. has not verified the accuracy of such allegations.

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SEC Provides Investment Advisers Guidance on Disclosure of PPP Loan

May 04, 2020

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently provided guidance on the disclosure obligations of an investment adviser firm when receiving a Paycheck Protection Plan (“PPP”) loan guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration in conjunction with the relief afforded from the CARES Act during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Learn How Your Investment Adviser Can Improve Its Report of Elder Abuse to Adult Protective Services

January 20, 2020

Many state legislatures in the U.S. have recently passed legislation mandating that investment adviser firms and their supervised persons report instances of elder abuse by third parties to the applicable authority in the state (e.g., adult protective service, attorney general’s office).  Moreover, many securities regulators have passed specific rules requiring mandatory reporting of elder abuse and/or taken the position that reporting instances of elder abuse is essentially part of an investment adviser firm’s fiduciary duty to act in a client’s best interest.

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Upcoming Webinar – Investment Adviser Fiduciary Duty

November 11, 2019

Join RCC President, Bryan Hill, on Thursday, November 14 at 12:00 PM CT as he expertly presents on an Investment Adviser’s Fiduciary Duty. Under federal law, an investment adviser is a fiduciary and must act in the best interest of its clients at all times. This fiduciary duty requires an investment adviser to provide advice that is in the best interest of the client, based on the client’s objectives, and eliminate or make full and fair disclosure of all conflicts of interest that might incline and investment adviser – consciously or unconsciously – to render advice which is not disinterested.

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OMB Approves Request for DoL Fiduciary Rule Delay

August 31, 2017

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) recently approved a request by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DoL”) that seeks to postpone implementation of the final portion of the DoL’s controversial fiduciary rule. Originally scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2018, this newest proposal by the DoL would see the fiduciary rule delayed eighteen more months, until July 1, 2019. Click here to view the regulatory review update on the OMB’s website.

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DoL Proposes Fiduciary Rule Delay

August 11, 2017

The United States Department of Labor (“DoL”) indicated in a court filing yesterday, August 9, 2017, that it would be seeking an eighteen-month delay in implementing the second phase of the fiduciary rule. This phase, originally scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018, would require investment advisers who receive variable compensation to comply with the Best Interest Contract Exemption (“BICE”). A signature feature of the Fiduciary Rule, BICE permits investment advisers to receive variable compensation only if they sign a contract with clients promising to put the clients’ interest before their own. The second phase also implements exemptions for principal transactions and insurance agents.

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FSI CEO Responds to DOL Letter on Study to Expand Definition of Fiduciary under ERISA

July 24, 2012

Dale Brown, President and CEO of the Financial Services Institute (“FSI”), wrote a letter to Representative John Kline, (R – MN) Chairman of the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee and to ranking member George Miller, (D – CA) in response to comments made by Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor, (“DOL”) in a letter to the same members of the Committee. Borzi told the ranking members she was disappointed with the lack of participation in the DOL’s request for data as part of its “effort to expand the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).”In Brown’s letter he is critical of DOL Assistant Secretary Borzi for what he calls an impractical request.

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New Suitability Rule for Broker-Dealers is Similar to Fiduciary Duty of Investment Advisers

July 16, 2012

There has been a lot of discussion over the last year on the different standards for broker-dealers and investment advisers. Under current regulatory requirements, broker-dealers do not have a fiduciary duty to their clients. Broker-dealers must abide by the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and must follow rules instituted by exchanges they are members of and the rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). Investment advisers are largely governed by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Investment Advisers Act”), rules promulgated under the Investment Advisers Act, and state laws. Pursuant to the Investment Advisers Act, investment advisers have a fiduciary duty to their clients. Having a fiduciary duty to clients means that by regulation investment advisers are held to a higher standard than the standard that applies to broker-dealers. A study conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in 2011 found that the average investor did not understand the difference between a broker-dealer and an investment adviser.

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An Investment Advisers Code of Ethics Should Reinforce its Fiduciary Duty

January 25, 2012

In August 2004, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted Rule 204A-1 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Investment Advisers Act”) that required registered investment advisers to adopt codes of ethics.  Under SEC Rule 204A-1, an investment advisory firm must adopt and implement a code of ethics, establishing rules and conduct all supervised persons must adhere to as a fiduciary. SEC Rule 204A-1 was adopted in attempt to create a standard of conduct that would “prevent fraud by reinforcing fiduciary principles that must govern the conduct of advisory firms and their personnel.” Section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act imposes a fiduciary duty on investment advisers by making it unlawful for an investment adviser to engage in fraudulent, deceptive or manipulative conduct. In its role as a fiduciary, an investment adviser has a duty to serve the best interest of its clients; a duty to have a reasonable, independent basis for investment advice; a duty to ensure that its investment advice is suitable to the client’s objectives, needs and circumstances; and a duty to be loyal to client.

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