Under rule 17a-14 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and rule 204-5 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, broker-dealers registered under section 15 of the Exchange Act and investment advisers registered under section 203 of the Advisers Act are required to deliver to retail investors a relationship summary, Form ADV Part 3, disclosing certain information about the firm. Read all the General Instructions as well as the particular item requirements before preparing or updating the relationship summary.
Advisers have a fiduciary obligation to recommend a share class that will provide their clients with the lowest overall expenses, based on anticipated transaction costs and holding periods. Moreover, if the Firm recommends mutual funds that carry 12b-1 fees when lower share class options exist, the Firm must make full and fair disclosure, including conflicts associated with making investment decisions in light of the receipt of 12b-1 fees; and selecting the more expensive 12b-1 fee paying share class when a lower-cost share class is available for the same fund. Share class selection is a regulatory priority. The SEC has indicated that examiners will conduct focused, risk-based examinations to assess whether investment advisers are meeting their obligations to
- Seek best execution;
- Disclose material conflicts of interest; and
- Maintain an effective compliance program.
Investment adviser should determine its approach for meeting these three obligations and train its personnel to comply with any policies, procedures, and guidelines governing share class selection.
Also, State registered advisers should review and verify compliance with state regulatory requirements governing the business of investment advisers. The regulation of investment advisers can vary significantly from one state to the other. Attempts to unify the patchwork of state requirements have fallen short, and the only sure way to determine the specific requirements of a state is to refer directly to the state’s securities laws and regulations, which many states make available online. Due to the practical difficulty of identifying and keeping current on the requirements of each state in which an investment adviser conducts business, it is often advantageous for an investment adviser to adopt a policy that requires it to comply with all state requirements.
Provided below is a non-exhaustive list of common regulatory requirements that states impose on investment advisers. Any investment adviser that does not comply with a particular requirement should thoroughly document its basis for believing that the requirement does not apply in the states in which it conducts business.
For information on investment adviser registration in each state, check out NASAA’s State Investment Adviser Registration Information.
Investment advisers should review, no less frequently than annually, the adequacy of its written compliance policies and procedures and the effectiveness of their implementation. The states expect annual reviews to take into consideration any compliance matters that arose during the previous year, any changes in the business activities of the adviser or its affiliates, and any changes in the Investment Advisers Act or related rules that may impact the adviser’s policies and procedures. In addition, the state expects that an investment adviser will review its compliance policies and procedures on an interim basis in response to significant compliance issues, changes in business activities, and new regulation. In accordance with state rules, this memorandum summarizes the key components of annual reviews for the adviser.
The USA defines an agent as any individual who represents a broker-dealer or an issuer in effecting or attempting to effect transactions in securities for their clients. Agents are individuals in a sales capacity who represent broker-dealers or issuers of securities. Any person who meets the definition of an agent must register with the states they do business in. To register with the state securities Administrators, you must:
Form ADV Part 2B is a brochure supplement that must contain certain information about specific individuals, acting on behalf of the investment adviser, who actually provide the investment advice and interact with the client. The brochure supplement is also a narrative format in plain English and includes six required disclosure categories, with a seventh for advisers registered or are registering with one or more state securities authorities: