Agents are individuals in a sales capacity who represent broker-dealers or issuers of securities. As agents, they act, usually on commission basis, on behalf of others. Agents are often referred to as registered representatives, whether sell registered securities or securities exempt from registration. The use of the term individual here is important. Only an individual, or a natural person, can be an agent. A corporation such as a brokerage firm is not a natural person, it is a legal entity. The brokerage firm is the legal person, or legal entity, the agent, a natural person, represents in securities transactions. Also, there are exclusions from registration as an agent, which are listed below.
Previously on the MasterCompliance blog, we covered When Do You Have to Register as an Investment Advisor and Exclusions from the Definition Investment Advisor. This Blog will discuss when a person does meet the definition of an investment advisor under the Investment Act of 1940, but is exempt from registration.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) recently issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning the exemption provisions of SEC Rule 15c3-3, the Customer Protection Rule. Prior to this guidance, even if they did not meet all requirements for (k)(2)(i) or (k)(2)(ii) on the FOCUS Report, firms were choosing to file for a (k)(2)(i) if they did not have custody. To address this issue, the SEC released footnote 74 to allow these “Non-Covered Firms” to properly file for exemption under Rule 15c3-3.
Requirements for Exempt Reporting Advisers:
Exempt Reporting Advisers (“ERAs“) must submit to the SEC, and periodically update, a truncated version of the Form ADV. More specifically, ERAs must complete the following items of Part 1A of Form ADV:
The Dodd-Frank Act (“Dodd-Frank”) not only mandated the registration of countless investment advisers, but also introduced a new classification of advisory firm – the Exempt Reporting Adviser – that is exempt from registration under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”). Exempt Reporting Advisers (“ERAs“) are investment advisers that are not required to register as an adviser with the SEC or state regulators, due to their status as an advisor to either: (i) private funds and having less than $150 million of assets under management; or (ii) qualifying venture capital funds.