More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- 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.
- Pay-to-Play Rule Violating the pay-to-play rule can result in serious consequences, and RIAs should adopt robust policies and procedures to prevent and detect contributions made to influence the selection of the firm by a government entity.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought more enforcement actions against broker-dealers through April 2011 than in the same period for the past three years, according to a Reuters report.
According to Bradley Bennett, the BD regulator's enforcement chief, FINRA has brought 449 cases through April 30, the highest amount for this four-month period since 2007. FINRA also has levied $14.5 million in fines, an increase from the same period last year, Bennett said during a May 18 Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association luncheon in New York.
By comparison, Reuters notes that, according to Bennett, FINRA brought 1,310 disciplinary actions and levied fines totaling $42.5 million for all of last year, compared with 1,158 actions and $48 million of fines in 2009.
Bennett also noted during the luncheon that the bulk of FINRA’s work, 70% to 80%, involves holding brokers accountable for basic rules, from mailing investment disclosures and vetting customers to protecting the privacy of client information.
In a related note, FINRA on May 15 launched the FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online database, a Web-based searchable system allowing investors to access brokers’ disciplinary actions via FINRA’s website at www.finra.org.