From the May 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

A Serious Man

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • 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.
  • Books and Records Rule Thorough and complete books and records enable RIAs to demonstrate that they have fulfilled their fiduciary obligations to clients and complied with applicable rules and regulations.

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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