Under Rule 206(4)-1(a)(1) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Advisers Act), an investment adviser is prohibited from publishing, circulating, or distributing any advertisement that refers, directly or indirectly, to any testimonial of any kind concerning the investment adviser or concerning any advice, analysis, report or other service rendered by the investment adviser. With today’s wide spread use of social media, there has been a lot of concern among investment advisers regarding what would constitute a testimonial when using social media. In March 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Division of Investment Management, issued a Guidance Update to provide some guidance on the testimonial rule and social media. Through this guidance, the SEC Division of Investment Management is seeking “to clarify application of the testimonial rule as it relates to the dissemination of genuine third-party commentary that could be useful to consumers.”
June 13, 2012
Investment advisers must be cautious when it comes to the statements and claims used in advertising and marketing materials and this does not just pertain to performance claims. Investment advisers must avoid all statements or claims that are unsubstantiated or that cannot be proven with material facts. Investment advisers registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) must ensure that all advertising and marketing material complies with Rule 206(4)-1 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Investment Advisers Act”). Many state investment adviser regulations follow similar regulatory guidelines as those outlined in Rule 206(4)-1. Under SEC Rule 206(4)-1(a)(5), investment advisers are expressly prohibited from publishing, circulating and distributing any advertisement, “which contains any untrue statement of a material fact, or which is otherwise false or misleading
Investment adviser marketing materials and advertisements are regulated by Rule 206(4)-1 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Investment Advisers Act”) and similar state regulations. Under Rule 206(4)-1, an SEC registered investment adviser’s website is considered a form of advertisement under the following circumstances:
Marketing materials can be very helpful in attracting business for an investment advisor, but investment advisors should be aware of the regulatory requirements that apply to the use of marketing materials. Common issues with investment advisory marketing materials include using marketing materials that include testimonials (which investment advisors are generally prohibited from using); publishing past recommendations (without following the restrictions and disclosure requirements for publishing past recommendations); using language that makes promises or guarantees; and making untrue or misleading statements.
Under the anti-fraud provision of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Investment Advisers Act”) investment advisors registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) must comply with the provision’s requirements concerning advertising and marketing materials. In efforts to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, or manipulative acts, your registered investment advisor should have in place strong supervisory and compliance policies and procedures designed to approve and monitor advertising and marketing materials. Federally registered investment advisors are routinely cited examination deficiencies for issuing non-compliant advertising materials. Much less, investment advisor firms have been cited for simply not establishing reasonably designed compliance policies and procedures for the creation, review and approval of advertising materials.