From the October 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

About Those Other SEC Studies ...

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from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • Risk-Based Oversight of Investment Advisors Even if the SEC had a larger budget and more resources, it is doubtful that the Commission would have the resources to regularly examine all RIAs. Therefore, the SEC is likely to continue relying on risk-based oversight to fulfill its mission of protecting investors.
  • 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.

Among the litany of studies (close to 17 of them, along with 95 rulemakings) that the SEC is charged with conducting under the Dodd-Frank Act, the advisory industry will be greatly affected by about five of them.

One of those five, the fiduciary study, is already under way with the SEC required to submit its report to Congress in January. Dodd-Frank also stipulated that the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) study of the regulation of the financial planning industry is to be submitted to Congress 180 days after the signing of Dodd-Frank into law, which means lawmakers should have the GAO study by late January.

Financial Planner Study (GAO): To examine the effectiveness of state and federal regulation of financial planners.

Study Concerning Improving Access to Registration Information for BDs and RIAs (SEC): To develop recommendations about improving investor access to registration information on BDs, RIAs, and associated persons of these entities.

Review of BD Auditors (PCAOB): To examine financial audits of broker-dealers.

Investment Adviser Examination Study (SEC): To examine whether an SRO should be designated to oversee RIAs.

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