More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Proxy Voting RIAs are not required to vote proxies on behalf of their clients. However, when an RIA does assume responsibility for voting proxies, the firm’s policies and procedures should help to ensure that votes are cast in the best interest of clients.
- Client Commission Practices and Soft Dollars RIAs should always evaluate whether the products and services they receive from broker-dealers are appropriate. The SEC suggested that an RIAs failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisors fiduciary duty to clients, so RIAs must evaluate their soft dollar relationships on a regular basis to ensure they are disclosed properly and that they do not negatively impact the best execution of clients transactions.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) announced at its annual meeting, beginning May 14 in Long Beach, California, that it had achieved several milestones in its 25th year of existence, and announced that its board had elected Diahann Lassus of Lassus Wherley in New Providence, New Jersey, as its next chair, succeeding Tom Orecchio. At the meeting, CEO Ellen Turf announced that membership in the fee-only group had reached 2,008--of whom 1,233 were NAPFA-registered advisors--that the group's budget was over $4 million, and that 46 study groups (which act like local chapters) were active across the country. Conference chair John Ritter noted that the gathering was the biggest-ever NAPFA national show, with 545 advisor attendees and 145 exhibitors.
As for the group's priorities on the regulatory front, Lassus and Ron Rhoades of NAPFA's industry issues committee ticked off the Rand Report at the SEC, senior investor protection, enhanced disclosure, particularly with the summary mutual fund prospectus, principal trading, and the growth of dually registered advisors. "The SEC," charged Lassus, "continues to focus more on Wall Street than Main Street." While in response to a question on the group's influence in Washington, Rhoades said "no one's ever comfortable with their lobbying clout," Lassus believes that "the SEC listens" to NAPFA.