August 3, 2009

Committee, Wealth Manager Editor Talk Standards With SEC Commissioners

Fiduciary standard is focus of DC meetings with Walter, Aguilar, other officials

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  • 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 RIA’s failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisor’s 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 Need for Thorough and Effective Policies and Procedures Whethere an advisor is SEC or state-registered, RIAs must revise their policies and procedures to address significant compliance problems occurring during the year, changes in business arrangements, and regulatory developments.

The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard, which includes Wealth Manager Editor in Chief Kate McBride, held face-face-meetings with two SEC Commissioners, Congressional staffers, and a Treasury Department official on July 29 to discuss the Committee's five fiduciary principles. McBride and fellow Committee members Knut Rostad, Harold Evensky, and others met for more than an hour each with SEC Commissioners Elisse Walter and Luis Aguilar, at the Commissioner's invitations, in SEC headquarters. Committee members also met with staffers from the House Education and Labor Committee, and with a Treasury Department official over the Committee's call on Congress to include an "authentic fiduciary standard" in any financial services re-regulation promulgated by the Obama Administration.

"The authentic fiduciary standard and five core fiduciary principles have generated a great deal of interest among the regulators and legislators who invited the Committee to these meetings," said McBride. "We are awed by the potential of new regulations that would require an authentic fiduciary standard for all advice-givers, to affect so many Americans in an extremely positive way."

"We saw Washington at its very best," said Rostad, who chairs the Committee. "The keen sense of how critical the fiduciary standard is to regulatory reform, and the historic opportunity to 'Do what's right for investors' was palpable in our meetings."

For the complete report on the meetings written by Wealth Manager's McBride, please view the WealthManagerWeb news story here.

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