From the August 2008 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

A Friendly Suggestion to Regulators

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Trading Practices and Errors When SEC-registered investment advisors conduct annual audits of firm policies and procedures, they should pay close attention to trading practices.  Though usually not required to, state-registered advisors should look at their trading practices and revise policies that do not fully protect clients.
  • Anti-Fraud Provisions of the Investment Advisers Act RIAs and IARs should view themselves as fiduciaries at all times, whether they meet the legal definition or not.  Deviating from the fiduciary standard of full disclosure while courting clients may cause the advisor significant problems.
Please, regulators, stop with the "best practices" discussions as if they are rules. Please make clear the difference between a "best practice" and a rule requirement. What may be prudent for one firm may have absolutely no relevance for another. Take, for example, Anti-Money Laundering/Patriot Act compliance. The Patriot Act is not currently applicable to investment advisors, because it would most likely result in duplicative efforts that serve no purpose (aren't investment advisors subject to enough regulations that have little to no relevance to their practices or their clients!). Custodian firms are subject to the Patriot Act. Moreover, as indicated above, Rule 206(4)-7 indicates that advisors must establish and maintain policies and procedures that are germane to their advisory operations. Thus, if an advisory firm does not have any clients in any of the OFAC countries, or accepts cash from clients, why would it need to establish a formal AML program? A discussion of AML/Patriot Act and its policies and procedures so that employees/representatives can have an understanding thereof? Yes, a formal program? No.
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