Share Class Selection

Share Class Selection

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

  1. Seek best execution;
  2. Disclose material conflicts of interest; and
  3. 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.

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Acting in the Best Interest of Your Elderly Clients

Acting in the Best Interest of Your Elderly Clients

As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, regulators have increased their focus on protecting senior investors. A new study released by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation), in collaboration with researchers from Duke University and Rush University Medical Center suggests that overconfidence in financial knowledge may lead to excessive risk taking among older investors. This is a good time for your firm to sit down and review your accounts held by elderly clients and determine if their portfolio and investment strategy actually fits their needs.

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AML and Suitability

AML and Suitability Challenges During COVID-19

FINRA Rule 3310 provides broker-dealer guidance on how to design, test, and enforce a firm’s Anti-Money Laundering Program (“AML”). One main element of AML is to “establish and implement policies and procedures that can be reasonably expected to detect and cause the reporting of transactions required under 31 U.S.C. 5318(g) and the implementing regulations thereunder.” FINRA Notice to Members 19-10 identified a key list of red flags that may be used to help identify suspicious activity in trading, money movements, insurance, and securities.

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