More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Trading Practices and Errors When SEC-registered investment advisors conduct annual audits of firm policies and procedures, they should pay close attention to trading practices. Though usually not required to, state-registered advisors should look at their trading practices and revise policies that do not fully protect clients.
- 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.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced Wednesday that it has updated BrokerCheck to help users more easily access broker-dealer and investment advisor registration information.
Several of the changes implemented by FINRA address recommendations made in a January 2011 study by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
FINRA says the latest improvements now give investors:
- centralized access to licensing and registration information on current and former brokers and brokerage firms, and investment advisor representatives and investment advisor firms;
- the ability to search for and locate a financial services professional based on main office and branch locations, and the ability to conduct ZIP code radius searches (in increments of 5, 15 or 25 miles); and
- access to expanded educational content available on BrokerCheck, including new help icons that clarify commonly referenced terms throughout the system and within BrokerCheck reports.
In February, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 12-10, soliciting comments on ways to facilitate and increase investor use of BrokerCheck. The comment period ended on April 27 and FINRA says it is reviewing the 71 comments received.
FINRA announced in early March its plans to revamp BrokerCheck to not only make it easier for investors to track down information about their broker—including “unifying” the search capabilities for BrokerCheck and the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure database—but to also expand the types of information investors can get about their broker.