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.
- Using Solicitors to Attract Clients Rule 206(4)-3 under the Investment Advisors Act establishes requirements governing cash payments to solicitors. The rule permits payment of cash referral fees to individuals and companies recommending clients to an RIA, but requires four conditions are first satisfied.
Daniel Gallagher, the newest commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission, revived the debate over whether a self-regulatory organization is needed to oversee advisors when he questioned in a recent speech whether the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority should be vying for the SRO spot.
“Is FINRA becoming a ‘deputy SEC’?” Gallagher, a Republican, asked during a recent speech at a Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association conference. “With all of the issues facing the broker-dealer industry it was created to oversee, should FINRA be seeking to branch out into entirely new fields of responsibility, such as regulating investment advisors?” he asked. “Is ‘mission creep’ affecting FINRA’s ability to perform its core duties?”
At a recent event held by the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, David Tittsworth, executive director of the Investment Adviser Association in Washington, D.C., said the debate over whether there should be an SRO for advisors–and if FINRA should be that SRO–is the “biggest issue” advisors will confront next year. While the bill from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., calling for an SRO is “dead” this year, the SRO issue will be revived next year, with new players at the SEC, in Congress and possibly in the White House, he said.
Hester Peirce, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, agreed, stating that “interest in [the SRO] idea will continue because the SEC is clearly overwhelmed and the complexity of advisors that it is now overseeing [with oversight of hedge fund advisors] will pose challenges” to the agency.