Gifts and Gratuities

Gifts and Gratuities

Advisory representatives are prohibited from accepting anything of value that might influence their investment decisions or serve to reward them in connection with their investment advisory activities. Additionally, advisory representatives are expected to refrain from knowingly conducting advisory business with any individuals or entities that use gifts, gratuities, or other items of value to bribe or influence others.

The provision and receipt of gifts and business entertainment by investment advisers and their employees are subject to pervasive regulation. Firms are to supervise and document all gifts and gratuities given to or received from any clients and prospective clients. The rule protects against the improprieties that may arise when firms or their associated persons gives gifts or gratuities. Firms must take any action to identify or examine the nature, frequency, extent and dollar amount to determine if such gifts and/or gratuities are in compliance with the firm’s policies. RIA’s are to adopt a policy governing professional conduct and conflicts of interest. Such policy is to provide that all associated persons have high standards of performance, integrity, productivity and professionalism. The firm should monitor for any and all conflicts of interest that could result, including instances of preferential treatment over other clients.

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Arbitration Clauses

Arbitration Clauses

Recently FINRA released a Regulatory Notice reminding member firms that if they have a mandatory arbitration clause in their customer agreement, there are certain minimum disclosure requirements that are established by FINRA rules. FINRA Rule 2268 spells out what can and can’t be in arbitration clauses.

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Material Changes to Form ADV

Material Changes to Form ADV

An investment adviser must promptly update its brochure if the information contained in it becomes materially inaccurate. This updated brochure is referred to as an “interim amendment”. Upon updating the brochure to reflect material changes, the investment adviser should begin delivering the interim amendment to its prospective clients before or at the time it advisory contract with such clients. For some material changes, the investment adviser will be further obligated to promptly deliver the interim amendment to its existing clients.

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Electronic Delivery for Investment Advisers

Electronic Delivery for Investment Advisers

For advisers to utilize electronic delivery for regulatory documents such as disclosures, prospectuses, shareholder reports, and proxy solicitation materials, there are a few requirements that must be met. The SEC’s guidance states that the electronic distribution of regulatory materials must satisfy the following three elements:

  • Notice
  • Access
  • Evidence of Delivery

The Release contains over fifty Q&A examples to illustrate the interplay of these three elements – twenty-two of which relate to mutual funds. See the additional resources file for a copy of the release.

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Rule 13(f)

Rule 13(f)

Institutional investment managers (“Managers”) must use Form 13F for reports to the Commission required by Section 13(f). Rule 13f-1(a) provides that every Manager which exercises investment discretion with respect to accounts holding Section 13(f) securities, as defined in rule 13f-1(c), having an aggregate fair market value on the last trading day of any month of any calendar year of at least $100,000,000 shall file a report on Form 13F with the Commission within 45 days after the last day of such calendar year and within 45 days after the last day of each of the first three calendar quarters of the subsequent calendar year.

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Requirements for State Registered Advisers

Requirements for State Registered Advisers

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.

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