From the June 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Not Just the CCO

Sidebar to the Experts Corner "Complacency, Risk and the SEC"

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Conducting Due Diligence of Sub-Advisors and Third-Party Advisors Engaging in due-diligence of sub-advisors isn’t just a recommended best practice— it is part of the fiduciary obligation to a client. An RIA should be extremely reluctant to enter a relationship with a sub-advisor who claims the firm’s strategy is proprietary.
  • Agency and Principal Transactions In passing Section 206(3) of the Investment Advisers Act, Congress recognized that principal and agency transactions can be harmful to clients. Such transactions create the opportunity for RIAs to engage in self-dealing.

While the chief compliance officer (CCO) should of necessity be the main player in the compliance review process, whenever possible I strongly recommend that at least one other firm officer be substantively involved in the review. It is imperative for senior management (an individual other than the CCO) to have a working understanding of the compliance processes and exam-related issues in the event of the CCO's absence or resignation or termination. The SEC is not likely to postpone an exam in the event of a CCO's extended absence or resignation/termination. Ultimately, senior management is responsible, and must be sufficiently prepared to step in if necessary. For these reasons, I strongly encourage senior management's participation in the compliance review process.

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