More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- 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.
- Use and Misuse of Social Media Social media is an inexpensive and effective way to communicate with established and prospective clients. Nevertheless, when RIAs utilize social media to promote their advisory practices, they risk compliance problems for their firms.
Kevin Keller, CEO of CFP Board, says that the "buzzwords" being bandied about on "K Street, Capitol Hill, and at the SEC" is that when it comes to reforming financial planning services, Congress is debating some type of "harmonization or a universal standard of care." The concern among the three planning groups, Keller says, is that those words are "in effect a euphemism for a lower standard of care. We think it's in the best interest of the public that financial planning services be provided at a fiduciary level and at a level that requires a high level of competence."
When the 111th Congress convenes, Keller says, "financial services reform is one of its top priorities." The economic crisis, he says, was "clearly not caused by financial planners; what we do know is that if the financial intermediaries that got us into this mess were putting the best interests of their clients first, we probably wouldn't be in this situation." So the three planning groups want to "make sure that in any movement or legislation that might seek to impose some uniform standard of care, that the interests of the public are represented and protected and that financial planning doesn't get swept up in some broad legislation."
The top executives of the three groups held their first "exploratory" meeting on December 3, and while no date has been set for the next meeting, Keller says "there is work happening at the staff level," of each organization. "We'll be continuing to work with the other two groups."