Outside Business Activities for RIAs

Outside Business Activities for RIAs

Outside Business Activities (“OBAs”) of individuals can create potential conflicts of interests with the registered investment advisers that employ them. Advisors are responsible for providing written notice before they act as an employee, independent contractor, sole proprietor, officer, director or partner of another person; or receive compensation or have the expectation of compensation from any other person as a result of any business activity outside the scope of the relationship with their registered investment adviser.

Additionally, this includes situations where compensation is to be paid or if there is a reasonable expectation of compensation as a result of any business activity outside the scope of the relationship with his or her firm. Passive investments are exempted from this requirement. To ensure all individuals are compliant with OBA requirements, make sure your firm reviews the following.

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New Hire Forms Checklist for RIAs

New Hire Forms Checklist for RIAs

When a registered investment adviser on boards a new registered person, there are a couple of new hire forms the firm needs to collect to be compliant with applicable securities laws and regulations.

To evidence completion of new hire forms by all associated persons, firms should adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations. Implementation of procedures will often rely on the use of forms and other documents designed to gather or report important data. While the completion of some forms is required by law or regulation, the implementation of other forms reflects principles of good management and controls. Regulators view the adequacy of procedures and the proper completion of forms as indicators of a culture of compliance within the firm. Consequently, firms should periodically verify the adequacy of their policies, procedures, and controls related to new hire forms.

Firms will use a wide range of customized forms and attestations to help them achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations. Firms should periodically assess how it can enhance its compliance program and better supervise employees through the use of new or improved forms, reports, acknowledgments, or attestations.

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FINRA Rule 3241: Registered Person as Customer’s Beneficiary

Challenges with Outside Business Activity Disclosures

An outside business activity (“OBA”) is defined as a registered person having any business activity outside the scope of the relationship with their member firm. As defined in FINRA Rule 3270, this may include acting as an employee, independent contractor, sole proprietor, officer, director, or partner for any other entities besides the member firm. Generally, the activity may also involve compensation or a reasonable expectation of compensation.

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Disclosures and Attestations for Associated Persons

Associated person disclosures and attestations are not a “one size fits all” list of documents. The purpose of disclosures and attestations is to educate your employees on the expectations of the firm based on firm procedure and regulatory mandates. Another important purpose is to give representatives a chance to know relevant updates and changes that may require pre-approval and/or added compliance responsibilities.

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OBAs PSTs

OBAs and PSTs – FINRA’s Proposed Rule Change

In May of 2017, FINRA released a Retrospective Rule Review 17-20 requesting comments on the effectiveness and efficiency of its Rule 3270, Outside Business Activities (“OBAs”) of Registered Persons, and Rule 3280, Private Securities Transactions (“PSTs”) of an Associated Person. Then, in February of 2018, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 18-08 seeking additional comments on a proposed new rule, FINRA 3290, to consolidate current FINRA Rule 3270 and current FINRA Rule 3280. The proposed rule change is a result of FINRA’s retrospective rule review the year before. FINRA again sought comments on streamlining and bringing the rule up to date.

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