Firms should have appropriately established controls for review, approval, and archiving of all firm related websites and related content. Firms must be able to readily produce all current and historical website content that promotes the firm or any of its covered persons. The firm should establish controls to ensure that all content is approved prior to use by a designated supervisor. Such supervisor is to have appropriate knowledge related to such content requirements. The guidelines below do not represent an exclusive list of considerations that a supervisor must make in determining whether such website complies with all applicable standards. Content Read more about Website Reviews[…]
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.
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.
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.
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
- Seek best execution;
- Disclose material conflicts of interest; and
- 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.
All advisers registered with the SEC must adopt and enforce a written code of ethics reflecting the adviser’s fiduciary duties to its clients. The firm’s code of ethics is required to meet minimum standards to appropriately address conflicts of interest identified by the firm. To ensure compliance with the code of ethics requirements, a written acknowledgement should be obtained from each supervised person confirming receipt of the firm’s code of ethics. Firms with more than one access person are should also ensure transaction reporting is being done by all access persons.