From the May 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

A Serious Man

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Suitability and Fiduciary Duty Recommending suitable investments is more than just a regulatory obligation.  Many investors bring cases claiming lack of suitability, so RIAs must continuously put the onus on clients to notify the advisor of changes in their financial situation.  
  • 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.

Before a room of people or in an intimate dinner or an interview with a journalist, Tom Giachetti is never at a loss for words. Whether it's talking about his New Jersey childhood or explaining to a room of advisors why having a formal Investment Policy Statement may not be the best idea in the world (unless it has some specific limiting language and has been signed by the client, for a start), Giachetti can seem glib. But that golden tongue masks a deadly serious approach to the law and giving advice that I was reminded of when I asked him in the interview for this article about the meaning of, to me at least, a confusing Supreme Court ruling that had taken place the day before the interview regarding mutual fund advisors' fees.

After all, I figured, Mr. Loquacious could give me a quick, juicy quote that I could use to spice up a news story we were doing on the ruling. I was wrong. "Jamie," Giachetti said quickly, after ascertaining exactly which Scotus ruling I was referring to, "I can't comment; I haven't studied the ruling." It seems that Mr. Giachetti likes to know what he's talking about before he opens his mouth.

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