More On Legal & Compliancefrom 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.
- 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.
Irving Picard, trustee for the liquidation of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff’s firm, has filed a suit against top SEC attorney David Becker and his two brothers that said that Becker and his siblings benefited from a Madoff account that was in their mother’s estate. The suit further alleges that the Beckers liquidated the account, some of the funds of which amounted to “$1,544,494 of other people’s money.”
Becker had announced on Feb. 1 that he would be leaving the SEC, just eight days prior to the date on a pre-trial summons that was served to Becker and his brothers William and Daniel. He said he had “no idea” when the case was filed, and that the summons came in the mail “sometime late last week,” according to a Bloomberg report. He denied that his departure from the SEC had anything remotely to do with the Madoff lawsuit, but instead was the natural end of a “two-year deal” with SEC chairman Mary Schapiro.
The Beckers’ mother, Dorothy, passed away in June of 2004, according to an MSNBC report, and all three Becker brothers were appointed co-executors of her estate. The Madoff account among her assets, according to the suit filed in N.Y. federal court, received a bit more than $2 million from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. The suit, which was filed late last year, says, "The trustee's investigation has revealed that $1,544,494 of this amount was fictitious profit from the Ponzi scheme. Accordingly, defendants have received $1,544,494 of other people's money."
John Nester, an SEC spokesman, said that Becker knew nothing about the Madoff investments. He went on to say in a statement, "He was not involved in his parents' financial affairs, and has no recollections of his parents' investment with Madoff prior to his mother's death and the subsequent liquidation of the account."
The suit filed by Picard seeks to recover the illicit funds for return to Madoff’s’ victims.