From the March 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

When It Pays to Fight City Hall

Sidebar to the The Playing Field "Reform Is On The Way"

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Risk-Based Oversight of Investment Advisors Even if the SEC had a larger budget and more resources, it is doubtful that the Commission would have the resources to regularly examine all RIAs. Therefore, the SEC is likely to continue relying on risk-based oversight to fulfill its mission of protecting investors.
  • Books and Records Rule Thorough and complete books and records enable RIAs to demonstrate that they have fulfilled their fiduciary obligations to clients and complied with applicable rules and regulations.

New SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro promises better enforcement from the Commission, but the securities law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan's annual analysis of litigated disciplinary proceedings brought by the SEC and FINRA against broker/dealers and registered representatives shows that it sometimes pays for B/Ds and reps to litigate against the regulators.

Of the 86 charges that were litigated by the SEC and FINRA during the year ended September 30, 2008 (the SEC's fiscal year), firms and representatives succeeded in getting charges dismissed 16% of the time, Sutherland's study found. SEC respondents had slightly more success (approximately 19%--5 of 26) than FINRA respondents (15%--9 of 60). "The success that FINRA respondents had marked an improvement compared with prior years going back to January 2000," the study said. "Historically, the average dismissal rate for FINRA charges has hovered around 11%."

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