From the November 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

SEC Sets Out Strategic Plan

Sidebar to the Danger & Opportunity article "Healthcare, Financial Services Reform Making Headway"

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Do’s and Don’ts of Advisory Contracts In preparation for a compliance exam, securities regulators typically will ask to see copies of an RIAs advisory agreements. An RIA must be able to produce requested contracts and the contracts must comply with applicable SEC or state rules.
  • 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 Securities and Exchange Commission published for public comment in October its Draft Strategic Plan outlining the Commission's strategic goals for fiscal years 2010 through 2015. The SEC says the draft plan surveys the forces shaping the SEC's environment and outlines over 70 initiatives designed to support its primary strategic goals. Comments on the proposal are due by November 16.

Besides strengthening the SEC's enforcement division, the strategic plan also sets out beefing up investment advisor and broker/dealer oversight. The Commission pointed to its consideration of rules designed to prevent political contributions from influencing the selection of investment advisers to the detriment of public pension plan clients, as well as rules that would provide additional safeguards to investors when an adviser has custody of client assets. The SEC says it will also "consider requiring those who provide investment advice to provide clients and prospective clients with clear, current, and more meaningful disclosure of their business practices, conflicts of interest, and backgrounds."

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