More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Scope of the Fiduciary Duty Owed by Investment Advisors A fiduciary obligation goes beyond the suitability standard typically owed by registered representatives of broker-dealer firms to clients. The relationship is built on the premise that the advisor will always do the right thing for the person or entity receiving advice.
- 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.
The underlying portfolio of securities that backed the synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO), named "ABACUS 2007-AC1," was connected to the performance of residential subprime mortgage backed securities (RMBS). The SEC complaint alleges it was not disclosed to investors that "a large hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc. ("Paulson"), with economic interests directly adverse to investors in the ABACUS 2007-AC1 CDO, played a significant role in the portfolio selection process."
The SEC further alleges that Paulson & Co., Inc., "effectively shorted the portfolio," by creating credit default swaps (CDS), with Goldman Sachs, and that Paulson, because of this "short interest," had "economic incentive" to pick RBMS that it expected would drop in value for the portfolio.Comments? Please send them to email@example.com. Kate McBride is editor in chief of Wealth Manager and a member of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.