The Securities and Exchange Commission released late Tuesday a FAQ on the agency’s Customer Relationship Summary, or Form CRS, part of the four-pronged advice standards package.
The securities regulator’s divisions of Investment Management and Trading and Markets said the Form CRS FAQ does not constitute a rule and that the industry can expect updates from the divisions as additional questions come in.
Topics covered in the FAQ include formatting as well as delivery requirements under Form CRS.
For instance, one question asks:
Q: My firm offers three types of services to our retail investors. Can my firm prepare and deliver three different relationship summaries, one for each type of service that it offers?
A: No. Each broker-dealer or investment adviser must only prepare one relationship summary summarizing all of the principal relationships and services it offers to retail investors. For example, if an investment adviser offers a wrap fee program, advice to participants in a 401(k) plan, and discretionary asset management for high net worth clients, the investment adviser would be required to prepare a single relationship summary describing all of the firm’s different services. Similarly, if a broker-dealer offers a range of brokerage services to retail investors, including, for example, self-directed, full-service, and employer-sponsored retirement plan options, the broker-dealer would be required to prepare a single relationship summary describing all of the firm’s different services.
On delivery requirements, another query asked:
Q: My firm is an investment adviser to pooled investment vehicles, such as a hedge funds, private equity funds and venture capital funds. The investors in these funds include natural persons who may be “retail investors” as defined in Form CRS. Am I required to deliver a relationship summary to these funds?
A: An investment adviser must initially deliver a relationship summary to each retail investor before or at the time the adviser enters into an investment advisory contract with the retail investor. “Retail investor” is defined as “a natural person, or the legal representative of such natural person, who seeks to receive or receives services primarily for personal, family or household purposes.” In the staff’s view, the types of pooled investment vehicles described above would not meet this definition and a relationship summary would not be required to be delivered.
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