As you may remember from our earlier blogs on registered investment advisers (RIAs), whether a firm should be registered as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or with a state is typically determined by the amount of regulatory assets the firm has that receive continuous and regular supervision or management (collectively known as a firm’s “regulatory assets under management” or “regulatory AUM”); with some exceptions, firms that have over $100 million of regulatory AUM must register with the SEC, while smaller advisers must register with state securities authorities instead. But, what if a new investment adviser doesn’t currently have over $100 million of regulatory AUM, but expects to soon? Is the firm required to wait until it has over $100 million of regulatory AUM to register with the SEC?
In our previous blog on Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs), “How to Register as an RIA: What is a Registered Investment Adviser?”, we discussed some important basics of RIAs – how does one define an RIA, what is Fiduciary Duty, why do RIAs need to register, what is the difference between state registration and SEC registration, etc. Today, we will return to the topic of state registration vs. SEC registration in order to provide a more thorough examination of the issue.
A Registered Investment Adviser, or “RIA” as it is commonly abbreviated, is a person or company engaged in the investment advisory business. That means that they engage in the regular business of providing, for compensation, either directly or through publication, advice on the value of securities or on the advisability of investing in, buying, or selling securities; or, they engage in the regular business of providing, for compensation, either directly or through publication, analyses or reports covering securities.