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.
- How to Avoid Sabotaging Your Compliance Exam There is much more to compliance examination survival than knowing all of the rules. It helps to understand why the rules were put in placeand to recognize that examiners are not the enemy.
The leadership of the Financial Services Institute (FSI) threw down the gauntlet in front of legislators and regulators at its OneVoice annual meeting in New Orleans January 25-27, saying it would focus its "effective political advocacy," in the words of new FSI chair Mari Buechner, on the regulatory reform now in Congress, fighting for continuance of 12b-1 fees, and preserving B/D reps' independent contractor status. Now in its sixth year of existence, FSI national conference chair Tim Murphy, CEO of Investors Capital, noted that there were 514 attendees in 2010, representing a 10% increase.
Buechner argued that the group has "earned credibility for our business model" in its advocacy efforts, to the point that "today we have a seat at the table with SEC, FINRA, the states, and Congress," and that independent financial advisors "now represent 43% of all advisors," according to Cerulli Associates.
Buechner's attendance reflects the growing influence of smaller-firm broker/dealers, which Buechner said now represent 20% of all FSI membership. In an interview, outgoing Chair Eric Schwartz of Cambridge Investment Research noted that a dozen such small firms joined FSI during his tenure as chair, and that FSI effectively now represents the entire independent B/D community.
CEO Dale Brown, the single person most responsible for FSI's efficacy and growing influence in a remarkably short time, noted in a speech in the opening session that FSI's priorities include continued robust participation in FINRA governance; being "constructively engaged" in the regulatory and legislative process, and in educating policy makers, citing as a particular triumph "making sure" that any consumer financial protection agency "does not oversee independent broker/dealers and RIAs. "Congress," B Brown said, "is the key to long-term change," and it's more important than ever" for FSI to use its hard-won credibility in influencing those issues of importance to its members.