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Content tagged "Les Abromovitz"



Mike Alfred: We're showing sensitivity here.

How BrightScope plans to publicize RIA advisory fees fairly amid all those onion layers
One competitor is convinced the Alfreds are merely rewarding fee obfuscation but the San Diego iconoclasts refuse to be discouraged

Friday 4.12.13
Mark Cortazzo: I don't feel bad for the person who was expecting this residual revenue, because they're not doing their job.

Why a $750 million LPL hybrid is selling its annuities expertise by eyeballing client contracts for RIAs
VAs aren't all bad, according to one New Jersey RIA -- in fact, some yellowing agreements are well worth a second look and could be worth keeping

Tuesday 3.26.13
Shiyan Koh: It's like a dating website for advisors.

NerdWallet's lead generation website has 20 Bay area advisors in beta, MIT, Wharton, Brown and Stanford folks running things and a Silicon Valley confidence
For Ask a Financial Advisor, the medium is the (video) message and the specializations include Lutherans

Tuesday 3.5.13
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
Brian Davis: This isn't meant to be a deep dive, but to answer those yes and no compliance questions RIAs have on a day-to-day basis.

Scottrade proclaims itself the 'compliance custodian,' partnering with RIA In a Box and staffing a hotline with ex-regulators
But the mega-custodians are having none of it, saying the initiative is good as far as it goes, but lacks the horsepower to tackle the big questions

Friday 12.7.12
Les Abromovitz: An RIA should have ready access to current contact information for clients, employees, regulators, custodians, and service providers.

RIAs must prepare for post-disaster recovery or regulators will lower the boom
Tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, sure, but death, disability and bad succession plans can also be disastrous for clients

Monday 10.29.12
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
Les Abromovitz: On many occasions, advisors' websites contain inconsistent statements about partners' experience and how many years they have been in business.

Unlike politicians, advisors can't walk back false claims
It may be flip-flopping season on the campaign trail but RIAs must be careful to stick to one regulatory story

Friday 8.31.12
Les Abromovitz: Including pictures of  your dog is usually a safe way to go unless your client or prospect is a cat person.

In this election season, cast your vote for president in private -- not in your firm's newsletter
Whether Romney or Obama is your man there's no upside in sharing that information with your clients -- but feel free to share about the bigger picture

Friday 8.10.12
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
Les Abromovitz: Loose lips can lead to information being made available to unintended persons -- which can also lead to insider trading.

Beware: RIA privacy breaches aren’t always high-tech
Bellowing that reaches the waiting room is one example of potential confidentiality-breaching behavior

Wednesday 6.20.12
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
Les Abromovitz: If you ignore securities regulators' priorities ... you're likely to get dealt a bad hand during an exam.

The SEC will often 'tell' advisors what compliance issues deserve attention
The agency has its own ways of communicating what gets on its regulatory nerves

Monday 4.9.12
Les Abromovitz: The most significant compliance risks arise from structured programs that reward clients for each and every referral.

Where RIAs should draw the line in rewarding clients for referrals
By expressing your gratitude in a tangible form, you run the risk of turning your client into a solicitor

Monday 3.26.12
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
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
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: A word or two can make the difference between a compliant video and one that is potentially misleading.

Why RIA videos are especially fraught with regulatory pitfalls
The productions are expensive so check with the CCO before rolling the cameras

Monday 12.5.11
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
Les Abromovitz: Investment advisors should avoid selective amnesia in their newsletters.

Advisor newsletters: Compliance-wise, all news may not be fit to print
Even a photograph of a client may be viewed as a testimonial

Wednesday 10.19.11
Les Abromovitz: Ironically, the RIA that received notice of this desk audit was not required to be registered in the state conducting the examination.

RIAs switching to state registration may be examined by a second regulator, too
The audit may come remotely from a state where the advisor doesn't have a place of business

Thursday 9.22.11
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
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
Les Abromovitz suggests that advisors file their ADV forms even if they're not happy with the content: 'You are at least making a good faith effort to be compliant.'

How suitable are your investment strategies? The SEC cares, a lot.
New ADV form heightens attention to the issue

Wednesday 3.30.11
Les Abromovitz: The fact that another adviser is engaging in the same conduct does not make it compliant. For example, you won’t help your cause by showing examiners other RIA websites that are just as noncompliant as yours is.

What not to do during a state or SEC audit
The four tempting -- but ultimately counterproductive -- tacts advisors sometimes take

Tuesday 3.8.11
The mere fact that clients give you their e-mail address should not be construed as consent to delivery of important documents.

How to avoid that fatal blow to client communication
Keep tweets, text messages and e-mails in their proper places

Monday 2.14.11
Les Abromovitz: Glowing remarks by clients may count as testimonials.

Considering hosting a radio show? The SEC may tune in.
Radio programs and commercials pose compliance complications. Disclosure helps.

Thursday 1.20.11
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
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
Les Abromovitz: Aside from the issue of whether a designation or certification is misleading, all financial services firms should be concerned about investment advisers who claim to have credentials they did not earn.

Why you should pay attention to proliferating advisor credentials
Les Abromovitz heads to Nebraska to figure out which letters are worthwhile -- and which take little more than a check and a pulse to earn

Tuesday 11.2.10
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
The Investment Adviser Association's annual report on the state of the industry reinforces the idea that the big-firm model is winning out over the small-firm model.

Three signs RIA firms are adapting to the brave new world
Looking for change with the help of the IAA's annual report: service providers are gearing up, AUM is rising and the big firms are winning

Tuesday 10.5.10
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
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
Charles Goldman: Off advisors' minds.

What do advisors care about? The new SEC that emerged in July, for one thing.
Plus, what a Smith Barney breakaway team is finding out about financial plans

Thursday 8.12.10
Les Abromovitz: You need to be extremely careful when conducting free lunch seminars, since regulators are keeping a watchful eye on them.

Four active marketing strategies that can lead to compliance trouble
How far can RIAs go with advertisements? Part deux

Tuesday 8.10.10
Les Abromovitz: Back when I went to law school, attorneys didn’t advertise on television, let alone on urinals.

How far can RIAs go with advertisements?
Don't take your cues from restaurants or lawyers

Thursday 7.15.10
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
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
Les Abromovitz: For compliance purposes, image must be grounded in reality. Advisers should not attempt to project the image that they are miracle workers who will be successful in every market.

Compliance GPS: It may be a mistake to project too successful an image, especially in a post-Bernie Madoff world
Hint: photos of you on a yacht may not be what your clients are looking for right now

Tuesday 5.25.10
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
Les Abromovitz: Solo practitioners need to have a succession plan, too.

The SEC wants you to consider the catastrophes
How an RIA should prepare for the worst

Wednesday 4.7.10
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
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
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
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
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
Les Abromovitz: It is imperative that RIAs routinely dust off the cobwebs on their website.

Outdated RIA websites risk compliance trouble not to mention credibility
Esteem from having a website gets squandered by neglecting its content

Monday 10.12.09
An outright ban on non-business use of social media may present its own legal problems.

10 top ways to use social media without courting regulatory trouble
Make social media part of your compliance plan

Tuesday 9.22.09
Les Abromovitz: Younger advisors may not be in a position to change the firm's culture as it relates to marketing and advertising

High costs, low value explain meager social media use by financial advisors, experts say
New study shows that financial advisors mostly delete Twitter from practices

Friday 9.4.09
I'm open to pitches from guest writers

Submit articles to RIABiz
Contribution policy is not elaborate

Friday 8.28.09
Les Abromovitz: Twitter's 140-word limit leaves scant room for disclosures

Social media can turn regulatory exam into fiery wreck
Tweeting and Linking in are fair game for sharp-pencilled regulator

Tuesday 8.25.09

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