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Articles tagged "SEC"


Jacob Adamczyk: Some of them are filled with conflict because they are stuffed full of proprietary funds selected by the fund company -- if the underlying investments can be determined at all.

Why I use target date funds for some 401(k) clients in my RIA but with exaggerated scrutiny and care
The set-and-forget products have enormous potential for good but may also be a fiduciary nightmare

Friday 3.21.14
Ron Rhoades: There was a time when the SEC was respected. No more.

How the SEC has pulled a vanishing act, looking the other way while brokers with flimsy pretenses hold themselves out as trusted advisors
The federal keeper of the standards has stopped battling brokers from calling themselves 'wealth managers', advertising 'trust' or looking the other way on principal trades

Tuesday 12.17.13
Adam Bold: What if the casual observer isn't able to discern what one franchisee does versus another.

Alleging gambling habits, SEC concerns and steady AUM declines, The Mutual Fund Store is offering $5.5 million to Jeff Roper to sell and walk away
What Adam Bold wants, he says, is to force a settlement to keep the reputational fire from spreading out of control

Thursday 11.14.13
Mary Jo White: Anytime you've got the same conduct regulated differently you need to take a close look and see what you should do.

After starring in New Yorker article, Mary Jo White holds SIFMA event spellbound and 'no-admit, no-deny' is still in play
The muscular prosecutor of security fraud and terrorism cases delivered roses -- and maybe some thorns

Wednesday 11.13.13
Ron Rhoades:  The broker-dealer, and its financial advisors, received way more compensation than the 0.85% annual amount they stated to Janet.

An X-ray of one affluent, educated and sophisticated investor's portfolio shows how it was chewed up by fees
Helping an ex-Fortune 500 retiree prepare for her appearance before Congress, the author waded through a mountain of paper only to discover that the woman was likely to outlive her portfolio

Monday 8.12.13
Ron Rhoades: Only we, as professionals, if armed with a history of its practical application, will be able to call upon Congress to implement a true fiduciary standard and the formation of a professional regulatory organization.

What the 8 pillars of a FINRA-replacing entity for RIA oversight look like and how personal accountability is key
First and foremost, the PRO would have as it members individuals (not firms) who are qualified to become members of the profession

Sunday 7.28.13
Robert Boslego: There is no guarantee that stocks will recover from a major loss within the time frame the retirement money is needed. [An investor] may literally die waiting for his or her portfolio to recover.

Why target date funds fail in the one area they're supposed to succeed -- downside protection
SEC recommendations about the inherent risk of target date funds are more controversial than their author's realize, says a veteran risk assessor

Monday 7.22.13
Ray Lucia: I'm pretty depressed that the government has such disdain for successful people and will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Why RIAs need to pay heed to a ruling that put a media star and advisor out of business -- and out $300,000
A judge ruled that Ray Lucia lacked the back-up to justify his hypothetical back-tests as the SEC pins a bull's eye on the strategy

Friday 7.19.13
Ron Rhoades: Brokers continue to operate with a free hand -- unburdened by the duty of nearly every other person in the U.S.

The story of FINRA's implacable drift from its founding ideals to a pallid 'no-lying baseline'
In Part 2 of a four-part series, our one-man think tank narrates the back story of today's fiduciary standoff, getting to the root of the 'insidious conflicts' that made the terms 'broker' and 'trustee' oxymoronic

Tuesday 7.9.13
Brian Hamburger: If investment advisors and brokers are family ... then don't punish the advisor because his cousin misbehaves.

Top RIA lawyer explains to the SEC why 'harmony' is a harsh misnomer and why the price of its false spin is paid by investors
MarketCounsel chief pleads for the regulator to draw a bright line between 'patently disparate and distinct' sales and advice models or risk a watered-down fiduciary standard

Friday 7.5.13
Skip Schweiss: This bill is the best path we've seen thus far.

An advisor fee bill hits Congress again, this time gaining qualified support from RIA groups
Rep. Maxine Waters' bill, which would require fees from advisors for the SEC, is unlikely to pass, but groups say it will push off FINRA efforts for now

Monday 4.22.13
Jack Waymire: Investors are supposed to believe [Barron's picks] produce superior results because they are responsible for large amounts of assets.

Does Barron's really have a bead on the best financial advisors in America?
The famed Top Advisor Rankings by State is an established and influential ranking but its criteria are murky and therefore misleading, according to this veteran who also vets RIAs

Thursday 3.21.13
Pat Burns: FINRA has been in the red financially and the addition of thousands of new member firms with their membership fees would certainly be helpful to its bottom line.

FINRA is making dog whistle comments hinting its SRO ambitions still simmer
'Harmonization' comments by Richard Ketchum make all the talk of the group abandoning its RIA-oversight ambitions seem like bunk

Monday 3.18.13
Skip Schweiss: Why one exam every five months? I'd still like that question answered.

RIA loyalists slam the SEC for playing into FINRA's darkest characterizations of haplessness
Is the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for more cash to examine RIAs, getting it, then spending it on other priorities?

Friday 3.1.13
Brian Hamburger: Don't think for a moment this is it. FINRA is playing coy.

FINRA's regulatory white flag may be a pause before it plays white knight to SEC's cash-starved damsel
Brian Hamburger, David Tittsworth and Pat Burns see no gain in breathing easy with so many endgame possibilities still in play

Friday 2.8.13
Jack Waymire: A high percentage of investors, in particular investors with larger asset amounts, believe bigger is better.

The SEC needs to clean up its semantics before accusing RIAs of inflating AUM
Advisors stretching for the $100-million mark advisors need to be told what assets to count and which ones are merely hanging out

Monday 1.28.13
Knut Rostad: One unfamiliar with the nuanced differences in play may well ask, 'What, again, is wrong with being suitable?'

Op-Ed: The fiduciary standard is in worse shape than it was four years ago
The teachable moment of Lehman's collapse seems to have dissipated, and forces of dissimilation are winning the day

Friday 1.11.13
Les Abromovitz: It will be of little consolation to clients to know that their advisors' nest eggs went down the drain along with their own.

SEC may tackle RIAs claiming to have 'skin in the game'
Heed the cautionary tale of the recent $1.6 million settlement against an RIA and its affiliated B-D that falsely claimed they co-invested in a fund

Friday 12.28.12
Patrick Burns: By opening the door for RIAs to have their arbitration cases held before a FINRA arbitration panel, it seems that FINRA has taken another step in its quest to become the SRO for RIAs.

Analysis: Beware of a FINRA bearing gifts for RIAs
The broker regulator takes another step towards ruling RIAs by making its arbitration process open to them

Friday 12.7.12
Ray Lucia: I removed the slides that are in question from my seminar presentation.

With SEC coming down hard, TV and radio star RIA principal in San Diego makes his case to listeners
The commission says Ray Lucia back-testing is questionable but some high-profile defenders take his side

Wednesday 9.19.12
Ron Rhoades: I’ve put a big target on my back.

Before taking a self-imposed vow of silence, Ron Rhoades sounds off on the RIA industry and tells what's it's like to hit a professional wall
The outspoken NAPFA chairman-who-wasn't covers why the Bachus bill will rise again, the true fix for RIA exams and why the term 'fee-based' is inherently 'fraudulent'

Monday 8.27.12
Mark Mensack: Bachus has ignored my own whistle-blower allegations against Morgan Stanley, which relate to what 401(k) expert Edward Siedle describes as fraud that 'makes Madoff look like chicken feed.'

Why Bachus' SRO-that-must-not-be-named would prove a tyrant to RIAs
The author says that as a private corporation endowed with governmental powers, FINRA is unsafe at any speed

Friday 8.24.12
Rep. Spencer Bachus fired off a WSJ Op-Ed pushing for his bill two weeks after he had tabled it -- leaving advisors gobsmacked.

Amazed and confused: Advisors struggle to make sense of Bachus' Wall Street Journal Op-Ed salvo
House panel chief dives back into the oversight fray, but confusion persists over timing, intentions

Tuesday 8.7.12
Les Abromovitz: Policies and procedures can protect elderly clients who exhibit signs of a cognitive impairment.

Older investors' complaints deserve -- and receive -- special scrutiny from regulators
Examiners give seniors the benefit of the doubt in a complaint, making it imperative to keep meticulous records focusing on not just the 'what' but the 'why' of investment decisions

Tuesday 7.17.12
On his D.C. sojourn, Neil Hokanson discovered firsthand how 'rumors are traded like bootleg whiskey on the black market.'

What happened when two advisors traveled to D.C. to be heard
Neal Hokanson and Chris Cannon, separately but with the same mission, felt like they created 'aha' moments for presumed FINRA advocates

Thursday 6.21.12
James Carville lent his big presence and Louisiana accent to a small event with large ambitions.

TD Ameritrade's 2012 Elite Advisor Summit gathers $89 billion of RIA assets under one Laguna Beach umbrella
Fresh off a week of D.C. intensity, the annual event crackled with strong opinions and offensive strategies

Friday 6.15.12
Ken Robinson: It's a thinly veiled hostile takeover of independent fiduciary advisors by those who fear them the most.

RIAs flood Capitol Hill with protests against a SRO-FINRA future on the day of the Bachus Bill hearing
Schwab's Clark and TD's Schweiss lead the charge, arriving in D.C. with impassioned advisor missives predicting an 'avalanche of costly regulation'

Wednesday 6.6.12
Barbara Roper: This legislation does even less to achieve that goal of harmonization than it does to solve the resource problem.

Barbara Roper sends stern letter to Rep. Bachus raising new FINRA-as-SRO issues
Consumer Federation of America: Smaller firms would bear the brunt of costs and broker/advisor confusion may only increase under the contemplated bill

Monday 6.4.12
Angela Canterbury: Several members of Bernard Madoff's family held leadership roles at FINRA.

Non-partisan watchdog group writes a scathing letter about FINRA
POGO, which uncovered the Pentagon's famed $7,500 coffee maker, says the would-be SRO is basically rife with conflicts of interest

Thursday 5.31.12
Ron Rhoades: "Suitability" is a failed doctrine. FINRA itself is a colossal failure, by any measure.

An in-depth analysis of FINRA's attempted takeover of RIAs and why the group should be disbanded, Part 2
FINRA's aim is to stamp out small RIAs that compete with its large Wall Street firms. Don't let it happen, pleads NAPFA's new chairman

Thursday 5.31.12
Ron Rhoades: FINRA was already an expert at protecting its large Wall Street firms from competition.

Why FINRA's power grab for RIAs needs to be stopped to avert the death of the profession, Part 1
Looking back from the year 2025, the author recounts how FINRA seized regulatory control and crushed the life out the once-thriving RIA channel

Wednesday 5.30.12
Duane Thompson: It’d be a compromise, even though that doesn’t seem to be a fashionable word right now.

Duane Thompson says Bachus bill will croak in Congress but others see danger aplenty
The FPA veteran who spearheaded the killing of the 'Merrill Lynch Rule' outlines his vision of compromise on the SRO issue

Tuesday 5.29.12
Jason Lahita: Words like "egregious," "sloppiness," and "stupid" were used ... by Jamie Dimon.

How JPMorgan's PR mojo downgraded a $3-billion PR typhoon to a five-day squall
Availability, self-criticism and starting from a position of credibility all helped short-circuit the relentless media laser

Wednesday 5.23.12
Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis: The organization that appears to be pulling numbers out of thin air is FINRA.

FINRA comes up with cost projections for its SRO and the CFP Board blasts them
FINRA is still angry that Boston Consulting Group did not consult them and says they created numbers "out of thin air"

Monday 5.14.12
 Philip Andrews: Prior to this you had to dig and dig.

Review: What the SEC did right and wrong with the redesign of its website
It's less of a bureaucratic maze but the image slideshow is over the top

Monday 5.14.12
Les Abromovitz: The SEC is embracing social media. It remains to be seen if social media users will embrace the SEC.

What the SEC is up to with its website's fancy new look
The redesign is a nod to social media and a recognition that it needs the public

Monday 5.14.12
Les Abromovitz: You are destined to have problems if the PR firm believes that regulations need not get in the way of a great marketing campaign.

PR firms must recognize that RIAs answer to a higher authority
There is such a thing as bad press -- a disclosure that seems 'a bit much' to your public relations firm may be just enough to land you in a compliance hot spot

Thursday 5.10.12
Neil Hokanson: FINRA ... behaves like a background shadow organization from a bygone era.

A big California RIA fires off a letter to Rep. Bachus decrying FINRA as SRO pick
Neil Hokanson offers a boots-on-the-ground perspective about why changes brewing in Washington are bad for consumers and advisors alike

Wednesday 5.2.12
Karen Nystrom: This proposed bill is a big deal to advisors...We hold out hope that our message will be heard.

Avoiding FINRA oversight may depend on talking sense to an options-trading House Republican
Spencer Bachus, known to expertly trade options for his own account, seems to be down with what transactions-based advisors like

Thursday 4.26.12
Dan Moisand: They have the opportunity to stop it, or screw it up worse than they already have.

Fearful that the SEC has been overworked, lobbied and bullied into a SIFMA stupor, fiduciary crowd launches 16-page missile
Among other things, the letter calls SIFMA's idea of a uniform fiduciary standard a 'broker sales standard'

Friday 4.13.12
Ann Bergin: We'll see a rush to the front door in coming days and weeks.

Schwab wins long-awaited green light from the SEC on alternative-assets distribution
The no-action letter on a DTCC standard may pave the way for custodians to create supermarkets of hedge funds

Wednesday 3.7.12
Les Abromovitz: The SEC and state securities regulators want to prove they are aggressively overseeing RIAs.

Lost in limbo: How and why compliance officers can seem to thwart RIA marketing efforts
CCOs have valid reasons for poring over the content of any proposed articles coming from their firm -- but they owe you a quick response

Wednesday 2.22.12
Paul Schott Stevens: These proposals are like a game of Clue. (Photo by Bloomberg)

New rule threatens to drive millions of investors out of money market funds, ICI chief warns
Paul Schott Stevens and a very blunt John Bogle air their views at the Bloomberg Portfolio Manager Mash-Up Conference in New York

Friday 2.17.12
Les Abromovitz: "Social plug-ins,” such as the “like” feature, might be viewed by examiners as a testimonial.

Think about compliance before sending or posting those articles you read
A new SEC alert gives updated guidance regarding the pitfalls of using social media

Monday 1.23.12
Daniel Bernstein: If an advisor posted that they 'held a great meeting on 401(k) plans,' and someone 'liked' it, it could be construed as a testimonial.

SEC sends sharp warning to advisors using social media
RIAs have to make sure they don't get 'liked' on popular websites like Facebook

Friday 1.6.12
Les Abromovitz: You won't score points with examiners by having superfluous or irrelevant policies and procedures.

Recent SEC enforcement actions make annual policies and procedures exams even more important
Sprucing up your compliance manual early and often can prevent the SEC leaving coal in your Christmas stocking

Thursday 1.5.12
Les Abromovitz:  [Soft dollar use] may affect the best execution of securities transactions and might cause the client to pay more than the lowest-available commission.

RIAs need to take a hard look at their use of soft dollars
Some advisors are landing in hot water with the SEC

Friday 11.11.11
Daniel Bernstein: No one should be running their businesses on stuff which may never come to fruition.

The dark side of the 'good' regulatory changes get scrutinized at MarketCounsel Summit 2011
Advisors may get much of what they wish for but in reality it may not be so good

Monday 10.17.11
Maria Marsala: If your firm doesn't have a written social networking usage document, get involved with creating one. Volunteer as a test case.

Top 10 tips for the 'social' financial professional when creating your LinkedIn profile
A search will often produce a professional's LinkedIn profile before his or her website.

Friday 8.12.11
Les Abromovitz: [Chief compliance officers] are putting their necks on the line if they don’t know their jobs and fulfill their responsibilities.

Time for chief compliance officers to get tough and get smart, or else
Double-checking, delegating (giving virtual head slaps) and becoming a student of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 are part of the deal

Wednesday 7.13.11
Scott Brown: Before there was more flexibility for how to calculate assets under management. This enabled certain advisers to opt in or out of federal or state regulation and circumvent the legislative intent of the rule.

Cheat sheet for recent SEC regulatory changes and amendments
Why 'assets under management' are now 'regulatory assets under management'

Thursday 7.7.11
Les Abromovitz: Avoid statements that expressly state or imply that you and your firm are in a class by yourself.

Examiners may ask “Says who?” about your advertisements
RIAs may run afoul of the SEC by using superlatives like "unparalleled" and "unique"

Tuesday 6.21.11
Les Abromovitz: In a discussion of this issue, one attorney at NCS argued that the individual was giving the Facebook page a thumbs-up, not the advisory firm. It remains to be seen if regulators will make that distinction.

Why compliance experts are apt to dislike Facebook
When does a click constitute an endorsement?

Friday 5.13.11
Advisor Donald Purtill: The government’s records are fine. They have all of the right information and anyone can see it.

Under fire, BrightScope says it will allow advisors to update simple information for free
Company slams SEC as obstructionist

Thursday 5.5.11
Les Abromovitz: Resolving these issues at the firm level reduces the risk that someone will take their complaint to regulators.

Potential whistleblowers have little to lose and millions to gain with the SEC's reward system
Here's how to keep complaints from turning into tip-off phone calls

Thursday 4.14.11
NASSA's David Massey: “(The letter) was helpful news, which is unusual."

Deadline for state registration may have shifted; SEC's Robert Plaze offers clarity
It's nice, but it's not a rule, say compliance experts, regulators frustrated by amorphous situation

Tuesday 4.12.11
Troy Paredes: The SEC commissioner also spoke, advocating for a regulatory regime that's easier on small firms ‘We should reject a one-size-fits all regulatory regime,” he said.

Eavesdropping on the IAA: JP Morgan exec challenges advisors on FINRA
SRO remains overarching concern; many advisors haven't finished their ADVs; anxiety rises about 'the switch'

Friday 3.11.11
Ron Rhoades: “Sh***y products” – such as the many poor asset-backed securities manufactured in the 2002 to 2008 time frame – would likely not have been manufactured in such great numbers had financial intermediaries been fiduciaries.

One-Man Think Tank: Four red flags in the SEC's fiduciary report
The standard may help right an economy overweighted by finance, but there's a strong chance Wall Street will block it

Tuesday 3.1.11
Tom Bradley: Let’s not exclude any option out of emotion.

Tom Bradley makes the case for regulatory efficiency -- and maybe, FINRA, especially for the dually registered
TD Ameritrade's chief says it's too soon to reject any idea out-of-hand.

Friday 2.11.11
Brian Hamburger: The SEC is lining up the facts so that later the conclusion becomes obvious (it can’t regulate advisors with current resources). ... It’s genius, what they’re looking to do, but it’s incredibly transparent.

The RIABiz list of winners and losers in the wake of the SEC's fiduciary study
The race is on as laggards adapt to new vision of the future

Friday 1.28.11
Bill Crager of Envestnet: "There was a lot of momentum toward the fiduciary standard. Now the implications find their way throughout the industry."

(Updated) Groundbreaking SEC study would smash old regulatory system, creating fiduciary brokers and more regulated advisors
Controversy and conflict emerge as SIFMA, Schwab and others begin to react

Monday 1.24.11
Ron Rhoades: The SEC will require the support of many professional groups and consumer groups, as well as that of the media and general public, to overcome the ferocious attacks which are certain to follow.

One-Man Think Tank: SEC courage likely to be tested in coming months
Study on fiduciary standard may be the most significant advance for investor protection in a half-century, but real progress will be made rule by rule

Monday 1.24.11
Mary Schapiro:A fiduciary owes its customers and clients more than mere honesty and good faith alone.

How 10 top groups define 'fiduciary'
Obama administration, SEC, FINRA, FPA, fi360, U.S. Supreme Court and SIFMA raise fiduciary bar to different heights

Friday 1.21.11
SEC Report: Imposing user fees would avoid the difficult scope of authority, membership, governance, and funding issues raised by an SRO.

(Updated) SEC presses case for user fees in much-anticipated report to Congress
While giving downsides for the idea of an SRO to govern advisors, the SEC opens the door for Congress to consider all options

Thursday 1.20.11
The Top 10 on RIABiz last month included a story about Charles Goldman.

What advisors care about: technology, hiring, Schwab's lawsuit against a broker hit top RIABiz stories this month
A new platform for alternative assets, plus the regulatory moves expected this year also make the list

Monday 1.17.11
Nick Georgis: Schwab has had conversations with SEC staff.

Schwab takes high-profile stand opposing self-regulatory organization for advisors
Largest custodian opposes FINRA on heavily lobbied issue

Friday 1.14.11
Skip Schweiss: "I had in mind that some organization that is familiar with the fiduciary standard practiced by RIAs would set the standards, then perhaps an organization like FINRA could lend its examination expertise/process/infrastructure."

Advisory factions steel for end game as SEC's verdict on FINRA SRO comes down
As action moves to Congress, a flurry of meetings and Schwab's appearance

Friday 1.14.11
Tea Partiers such as Michele Bachmann may change the enforcement landscape for investment advisors by putting some agencies on starvation budgets.

The 7 government actions that could reshape the advisory business in 2011
Funding may derail some grand plans, but regulations roll on (and so do tax threats)

Friday 1.7.11
Ron Rhoades' crystal ball extends to 2025 when Americans finally say 'uncle' to another 15 years of having brokers' interests go first.

Why a swing-and-miss on fiduciary standards will haunt us for decades
An ounce of good sense now could save the U.S. economy a pound of unnecessary pain downstream

Thursday 12.23.10
Les Abromovitz: Recently, one RIA firm that I work with claimed to have created hundreds of unique solutions. Those kinds of claims invite a securities examiner to ask for proof that the firm’s solutions are truly out of the ordinary.

The marketing naughty and nice list
Catchwords and strategies likely to draw regulators' ire -- and others that pass anyone's test

Thursday 12.23.10
SEC headquarters has seen plenty of traffic lately, as companies and lobbying groups send execs aiming to influence a pending report on advisor oversight.

Most RIAs prefer to pay money for SEC exams now than pay in blood later under an SRO
TD Ameritrade survey comes as resistance to FINRA empowerment wells up from wide array of organizatioms

Friday 12.10.10
Ron Rhoades: I have personally observed dozens of my clients, throughout my 25-year legal and then investment advisory career, inform me that their “financial advisor” took them on “for free” and “has never been paid a dime.”

One-Man Think Tank: The fiduciary standard may sink Wall Street's advisors-on-yachts. Should we care?
How much should a professional investment advisor make?

Tuesday 12.7.10
California may be the land of milk and honey, but its RIA registration bureaucracy is notoriously slow. Let us know what's happening in your state.

The biggest questions about the switch to state oversight: You tell us
RIABiz posts its first reader survey on an issue affecting a massive number of RIAs

Tuesday 12.7.10
Ron Rhoades: From a review of the academic literature, it appears that relatively few investment strategies, as to the design of portfolios for individual clients, withstand academic scrutiny.

One-Man Think Tank: With even governments abandoning pension plans, investors are being tossed to the fee-hungry wolves
Disclosures don't deal with the psychological issues of risk aversion, overconfidence, and cognitive dissonance.

Thursday 12.2.10
Michael Henkel: He is passionate about moving independent advisors into the retirement plan market, but says that for now, advisors lack the tools to succeed there.

Yesterday's proposed DOL regs underscore why default investments are the 401(k) market's giant untapped opportunity
Regulators' so-far soft approach on target date funds leaves door open for advisors to compete

Tuesday 11.30.10
Les Abromovitz: Working on an elected official or candidate’s campaign may also fall within the definition of “contribution” found in the pay-to-play rule.

SEC's new pay-to-play rules call for you to investigate your employees' political giving
Surprisingly broad regs kick in next quarter, covering RIAs that do business with the government

Tuesday 11.30.10
David Massey, NASAA president, is arguing that the SEC has the bandwidth to continue regulating advisors.

Is FINRA oversight a fait accompli? It's starting to feel that way.
IAA's Tittsworth says advisors still have the chance to play up small-business angle to submarine legislation

Tuesday 11.23.10
Ron Rhoades: I have seen in my 25 years of practice ... a large number of individual Americans withdraw from the stock and bond markets after discovering the inadequacy of the conflict-ridden investment advice they received.

One-Man Think Tank: What would Adam Smith say about the fiduciary standard?
As the SEC ruminates, the invisible hand lurks and Rhoades finds support for a strong standard in unlikely places

Monday 11.22.10
Ron Rhoades: It appears that relatively few investment strategies, as to the design of portfolios for individual clients, withstand academic scrutiny.

One-Man Think Tank: Would your investment strategy stand up in court?
Advisors should apply due diligence not only to products and suitability, but to their overall approach, says the new ADV form.

Wednesday 11.3.10
Les Abromovitz: The SEC’s observation was surprising.

So you're an RIA. Be careful about calling yourself one, says the SEC
Beware of using the term as focal point for marketing; some states may have competing regulations

Monday 10.11.10
Melanie Senter Lubin: Maryland's securities chief says state regulators are pressing the SEC to offer guidance to advisors.

It's looking official: Advisors switching to state oversight to face many more audits
State securities regulators, SEC issue first solid answers on some commonly asked questions for 4,000 advisors in limbo

Tuesday 9.28.10
Daylian Cain: Disclosure is like a sugar pill. If it somehow relaxes us, than it does real harm.

What we all feared: 'Better' disclosure yields worse results, according to Yale professor's study
At an exclusive think-tank style conference on the Potomac, industry leaders heard the psychology behind investors' rosy view of the world.

Monday 9.27.10
Compliance expert Cathy Vasilev says many of her clients are beginning to worry about whether they will be able to register with the states by the July 21 deadline.

Frustration mounts: Experts, RIAs identify six most important unknowns about the switch to state oversight
SEC announced time frame for proposed rules

Thursday 9.23.10
Les Abromovitz: Some advisers designate one particular person who is responsible for addressing questions pertaining to seniors.

When it comes to senior investors, regulators are breathing down your shoulder
A Colorado advisor who oversold hedge funds may pay a price

Tuesday 9.21.10
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner

Signed, sealed, delivered: Fiduciary advocates hope SEC takes their new survey for gospel
In pressure cooker of Washington, D.C., nothing looks certain, especially after Tea Party wins

Thursday 9.16.10
Les Abromovitz: Your narrative should use the active voice. Words must be definitive and concrete. As always, you should be looking for language that unsophisticated investors can understand.

Now, the SEC wants you to be a writer, too?
ADV Part 2 form calls for clear language, and detailed descriptions even of the people working for you

Thursday 9.2.10
Summer's last gasp: Advocates for advisors and broker-dealers were putting in long days to prepare comments on the fiduciary standard to send to the SEC's Mary Schapiro and the other commissioners.

Old foes in the fiduciary debate join new battle to sway SEC's six-month study
Advocates were working down to the wire to submit comments by the end of yesterday

Tuesday 8.31.10
Denise Voigt Crawford: Advisors who haven't had an SEC audit recently -- or ever -- should expect an examiner's knock on the door soon after they switch to state oversight.

What advisors should know about the next sweeping change: the switch from SEC oversight to state regulation
It could impose most on advisors spread out across multiple states

Wednesday 8.25.10
Andy Rachleff: It’s laughable for the mutual fund lobbyists to suggest that an informed consumer equates to a confused customer.

A cap on 12b(1) fees is going to have one predictable result. Think carnival games.
What consumers need is not a cap, but some sunshine to disinfect mutual funds

Friday 8.13.10
Ron Rhoades: Many RIAs rightly question the utility of limited inspections by regulators.

One-Man Think Tank: The SEC's custody examinations leave gaps big enough for Madoff to drive a bus through
How to reassure clients who are seeing Ponzi after Ponzi unveiled

Tuesday 7.27.10
Kristina Fausti: We've entered a new regulatory era that calls for greater transparency and accountability.

How financial reform gives the SEC new bite; plus at least five other things advisors ought to know about the legislation
The new financial world will be constructed mostly out of the public eye, as regulators begin studying 150 issues Congress punted to agencies

Monday 7.26.10
Jim Sotell: Fees that were hidden are coming to the surface. That will put RIAs on a more level playing field with brokers in the retirement plan business.

How the new 12b(1) fee restrictions could transform the financial advisory industry
Brokers selling 401(k) plans may have another nail driven into their coffin

Thursday 7.22.10
Les Abromovitz: You can establish a dialogue with the SEC -- but beware of asking to change your audit to a different day.

Hello! The SEC wants your records by tomorrow
One advisor had a day to produce voluminous records. That's the kind of request likely to grow more common as the SEC performs more unscheduled audits

Wednesday 6.30.10
Mark Tibergien: To advisors, broker-dealers are the Soviet Union and FINRA is the KGB.

Why advisors see FINRA as the devil
A conversation with Richard Brueckner and Mark Tibergien lends perspective to this widely held view by RIAs of the b/d regulator

Tuesday 6.22.10
Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass) sees SEC rule-making authority, but after a certain “preparatory” time.

As House and Senate talk compromise, Barney Frank hints at a win for fiduciary advocates
In Washington end game, the fiduciary standard hangs in the balance between Barney Frank and Tim Johnson

Thursday 6.17.10
Les Abromovitz: The SEC has extremely high expectations for people serving as chief compliance officers.

What the ADV form of Kenneth I. Starr's RIA reveals and what to make of it
It appears that Starr had his son, Ronald, as chief compliance officer

Friday 6.4.10
The SEC says fraud costs $40 billion a year

Regulatory Wire: CREW report criticizes the SEC and blasts its chairman, Mary L. Schapiro, for being slow to fight fraud
Measures against the Bernie Madoffs, Kenneth Starrs called insufficient; accountants on extensible business reporting language; and a strong letter from NASSA

Friday 6.4.10
If Congress passes financial reform, it only sets the stage for a new host of FINRA, SEC and DOL issues

Regulatory Wire (Updated): To create a successful new regulatory regime, the biggest fears of both broker-dealers and advisors must be assuaged
Plus, a DOL administrator offers hints of new 401(k) regulations to come this fall

Friday 5.14.10
Arlen Specter: I have long believed that it is insufficient to have fines for fraud. For corporate fraud, you have a fine and it is calculated as part of doing business.

Regulatory Wire: Advisor groups long have pushed for the fiduciary standard; because of the Goldman Sachs case, they may get what they asked for, and more
Senators call for ERISA-level standards of care for retail investors; also, Schapiro puts new ADV part 2 back on the radar

Friday 5.7.10
David Bellaire: Improving regulatory examination and enforcement for investment advisers and broker-dealers is more complicated than changing the responsible regulator or throwing money at the problem.

Debate continues: Fiduciary standard no panacea
Financial Services Institute advocates for study, deliberate look at investor protection

Thursday 5.6.10
FINRA, SEC and NASSA offer guidance on the suitability standard

The suitability standard, defined
If you've wondered, as we have, exactly what it says, wonder no more

Wednesday 5.5.10
Les Abromovitz: The SEC examiner in your office may be a bit more skeptical about your firm’s conduct than was previously the case during a routine examination.

The SEC's unannounced compliance exams are growing more common. That means the ‘I’ll-get-to-it’ strategy is an even worse idea than before.
How to test your firm’s readiness

Wednesday 4.28.10
Ron Rhoades: When will Congress stand up to Wall Street?

One-Man Think Tank: When Wall Street has investors' 'best interests' at heart, watch out
As Senate is poised to take up reform, Ron Rhoades contends the movement to create a "new" fiduciary standard is a campaign of disinformation

Tuesday 4.27.10
House and Senate financial reform bills would shift 4,000 RIAs to state oversight, but the SEC still has questions about states' resources.

Regulatory Wire: Two Senators may take on fiduciary fight, but how hard will the Obama administration push for the standard?
Plus, Doubts about state regulators' resources; a possible reprieve for California RIAs; and Schumer's under pressure on SEC funding

Friday 4.16.10
Ron Rhoades: The more you make brokers and advisers look the same, the more likely it is that FINRA will end up regulating them all.

What financial advisors can expect from Washington this spring: 8 predictions
Financial reform will move forward, but regulation will move backward

Monday 4.5.10
Les Abromovitz: When it comes to past perfomance, you are obliged to reveal the bad along with the good.

One excuse the SEC doesn't listen to: I was just following the crowd
Third-party rankings misleading without the context; here's how to give it

Monday 3.22.10
Kristina Fausti: The legislation adds some consumer protections and oversight of the SEC.

Senate proposal pushes most RIAs one step closer to state regulation
Senate and house bills now both seek to wrest 75% of RIAs away from SEC oversight

Tuesday 3.16.10
Sen. Herb Kohl favors disclosure by planners of conflicts of interest and compensation.

Proposal would sweep RIAs, planners, brokers into one huge regulatory pool (Updated)
New board promoting the fiduciary standard would oversee 75,000

Wednesday 3.10.10
Ron Rhoades: Arguably, language in the Johnson Amendment provides the SEC with the authority to craft whatever rules it wants to.

Why the New York Times fiduciary article won't deter the special interests
Consumer-protection regulations rarely get stiffer in the legislative process

Friday 3.5.10
Les Abromovitz: When the SEC takes a stand on social media, it is likely to reach many of the same conclusions

FINRA guidance may help RIAs avoid social media blunders
Even employees' LinkedIn profiles ought to be supervised

Friday 2.26.10
Elisse Walter: We’ve been making it too hard on ourselves.

SEC's Walter looks for an easier way out on fiduciary question
Johnson amendment gains primacy as jockeying continues on the Hill

Thursday 2.25.10
Washington's attention to financial advice is a major step in its evolution

Part Two: The last advice model standing
Five links on the evolutionary chain toward a profession

Monday 2.15.10
Les Abromovitz: Regulators are very wary of advertising and marketing efforts aimed at senior investors, including the so-called free-lunch seminars.

SEC’s heightened interest in the older set means advisors should pay heed
Questions of diminished capacity, appropriate investing strategy apply

Tuesday 2.2.10
Welcome an auditor with a smile

14 tips for how to act when the SEC auditor is in your office
No need to be a doormat but treat the visitor as a guest

Thursday 1.14.10
Hovig Melkonian: This is exactly how an auditor wants him: flustered

Elizabeth witnesses a mock audit first hand and feels the advisor's pain
Mock audits are in hot demand because they cut back on regulatory blindsiding

Wednesday 1.13.10
Les Abromovitz: Is your web site updated for current economic conditions?

2010 to-do list for RIAs: Get out of the comfort zone, avoid SEC problems
Marketing and compliance resolutions that start with the Internet and end at the gym

Tuesday 1.12.10
Mary Schapiro: When investors receive similar services from similar financial service providers, they should be subject to the same standard of conduct

'Unthinkable' progress was made on creating a new regulatory world for advisors in 2009
Change is in the air but upcoming Senate elections complicate prospects for 2010

Thursday 12.17.09
SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar: These rules are a "Madoff fix."

SEC details new "Madoff fix" custody rules
Advisor groups relieved: no surprise audits for RIAs with third-party custodians

Wednesday 12.16.09
Andy Hyer: Blogs help promote an advisor’s business without being pushy.

Blogging: The costs and risks of hoarding your thoughts are rising
It's a new way for financial advisors to stay relevant with clients

Wednesday 12.16.09
Les Abromovitz: Not surprisingly, advisors' hypothetical case studies have happy endings.

Advertising practices that can raise the hackles of regulators
Photos, staff plaudits and hypotheticals are still testimonials by any other name

Thursday 11.19.09
Martin Kurtz: "The concerns around FINRA is that they've been in the suitability world; we're saying that this is a fiduciary world."

Martin Kurtz, president of Financial Planning Association for 2011, will take pragmatic approach
Electee has concerns about FINRA's historical 'suitability' mindset

Friday 11.13.09
Zachary Gronich:  Make no mistake, the annual renewals are the most important on-going compliance issue.

The quick and easy route to getting your RIA license suspended
Renewal gauntlet begins next week with a moved-up deadline

Friday 11.6.09
David Tittworth: "It's pretty bad."

Worst of both worlds looms for RIAs in Washington
Act would gut the authority of SEC over RIAs while doubling its budget

Wednesday 11.4.09
Patricia Struck: The states are almost uniformly in a good position to take on more oversight.

The big change RIAs should expect when the SEC punts to the states
Advisors under states see more audits, tougher registration requirements and busybody lawmakers

Wednesday 11.4.09
Kristina Fausti is watching for whether fiduciary standard will apply only to personalized investment advice provided to retail investors

SEC one step closer to losing oversight of most RIAs
But will budget-crunched states do a better job?

Wednesday 10.28.09
Obama's quest for harmony may create dissonance for RIAs

Eight things necessary to keep RIAs from answering to SIFMA
Multiple strategies needed to counter deficit in numbers

Thursday 10.15.09
Barney Frank on state regulators: “You have been an improvement on the federal regulators.”

Feds happily punt to states on advisor oversight
Move would take 33% of RIAs off of SEC's plate

Tuesday 10.6.09
Bruce W. Maisel: Embraced the fiduciary standard on behalf of the American Council of Life Iinsurers

SIFMA's Taft makes anti-suitability comments but the fee crowd is wary
Mercer Bullard says that tiger is showing its stripes

Tuesday 10.6.09
David Tittsworth goes to bat for RIAs today [Tuesday]

Showdown set over whether RIAs stay under regulatory authority of the SEC [Updated!]
SIFMA and FINRA may play for regulatory control

Tuesday 10.6.09
Brooke Southall: I separate brokers as people from brokers as an institution

Welcome to RIABiz on day one
Online publication for financial advisors debuts from Sausalito, Calif.

Thursday 8.6.09

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