How to Register as an RIA: State Registration vs. SEC Registration

In our previous blog on Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), “How to Register as an RIA: What is a Registered Investment Advisor?”, 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.

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What is Custody?

Custody remains a focus area for SEC and state regulators alike.  Firms should review the guidance released by the SEC to learn what steps can be taken to avoid having inadvertent custody requiring an independent surprise examination.

Guidance Issued by the SEC: Inadvertent Contractual Custody

In guidance notice No. 2017-01, “Inadvertent Custody: Advisory Contract Versus Custodial Contract Authority,” the SEC lists examples of problematic statements listed in agreements between clients and qualified custodians.  The staff has determined an investment adviser may inadvertently have custody of client funds or securities because of provisions in a separate custodial Read More…

The SEC’s Priorities in 2018

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division released their annual report detailing its priorities for 2018.  The department will be guided by 5 principles: Focus on the Main Street Investor, Focus on Individual Accountability, Keep Pace with Technological Change, Impose Sanctions that Most Effectively Further Enforcement Goals, and Constantly Assess the Allocation of Resources. Read More…

Large Trader – Rule 13h-1 (Part 2)

For Part 1, please see  Large Trader-Rule 13h-1 (Part 1).  Part 2 A large trader is required to file a Form 13H Initial Filing promptly after effecting aggregate transactions equal to or greater than the Identifying Activity Level threshold.  After initial filing, Rule 13h-1(b)(1)(ii) specifies that an annual filing must be made within 45 days after[…]

Large Trader – Rule 13h-1 (Part 1)

Rule 13h-1 helps the SEC identify and obtain trading information on market participants that conduct a substantial amount of trading activity in the U.S. securities market. The rule imposes filing requirements on persons that meet the definition of “large trader.” A larger trader is any person that directly or indirectly, including through other persons controlled by such person, exercises investment discretion over transactions in NMS securities that equal or exceed:

  • 2 million shares or $20 million during any calendar day; or
  • 20 million shares or $200 million during any calendar month.

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Wrap Fee Suitability

A wrap fee program is an arrangement between financial institutions (typically broker-dealers and investment advisers) that enables customers to pay an all-inclusive fee (usually as a percentage of assets) for investment advisory services bundled with various other services, such as execution, clearing, and custodial services. Wrap fee programs create a number of suitability issues for the financial institutions that sponsor the wrap fee program or participate in the program.  Read More…

Investment Advisers: SEC vs. State Registration

Due to the Dodd-Frank legislation, as of mid-2012, there are rules for registration eligibility that are primarily determined by a firm’s assets under management (“AUM”). For all firms below $100 million AUM, registration is required with the appropriate state jurisdictions.  For firms above $100 million AUM, registration will be at the SEC level, unless a registration exemption exists. In order to account for fluctuations in AUM, the SEC has imposed, by rule, a buffer for Investment Advisers with AUM between $90 million and $110 million. An adviser may register with the SEC once it reaches AUM of $100 million. An adviser must register with the SEC if it’s AUM is $110 million or more at the time they file their annual ADV amendment. Once registered with the SEC, a mid-size adviser can remain registered with the SEC as long as its AUM is at least $90 million at the time they file their ADV amendment.  Read More…

SEC Releases New RIA Form ADV Filing Requirements Effective October 2017

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to Investment Advisers Act rules in August 2016 that will result in significant changes to Form ADV for advisory firms working with SMA’s (Separately Managed Accounts).  The additional data will help the SEC focus on examining firms more often that present the greatest risks. Read More…

Reminder: Testing ORF and ADF Changes for Trade Reporting and T+2 Settlement

In accordance with the industry-led initiative to shorten the settlement cycle from three business days (T+3) to two business days (T+2), FINRA continues to make testing available in the NASDAQ Testing Facility (NTF) for associated changes to equity trade reporting. The amended rule is designed to enhance efficiency, reduce risk, and ensure a coordinated and expeditious transition by market participants to a shortened standard settlement cycle. Please refer to Regulatory Notice 16-09 and SR-FINRA-2016-047 for more information on the changes to trade reporting related to the shortened settlement cycle.   Read More…