Proactive Risk Mitigation

Given the current regulatory landscape, good intentions just aren’t good enough. Companies need to be actively protecting themselves and their personnel from liability.

How a Popular Index’s Lack of Risk Disclosures Resulted in a Recent $9 Million SEC Fine: Lessons Learned

The absence of simple disclosure in a licensing agreement about an Auto Hold feature for a volatility index managed by S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) prompted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take action, further establishing a framework for index providers.

Posted in Disclosures
The Importance of Having a Successful Succession Plan

Investment advisors are familiar with the need to have difficult conversations with clients. Any number of anticipated or unforeseen situations, such as the loss of a job or a serious family illness, can prompt the need to revisit a client’s investment plan and tailor their asset allocation plan to deal with significant life changes.

Business Transitions: Why Specialized Legal Counsel Matters

Much in the same way clients depend on your proven expertise to help meet their investment goals, advisors should seek and rely on the value that only specialized legal counsel can provide when mulling the business transition to a new firm or the start of a new business.

Protecting Your Firm Through Risk Management

You have successfully formed your investment advisory firm and your business is up and running. Now you want to ensure that your firm remains in compliance with the SEC, FINRA and state regulators so that, in the event a regulatory agency DOES come knocking, you are ready to handle the examination.

A Financial Advisory Firm’s Simple, but Costly Lesson in the Need for Adequate Fee Disclosure

When it comes to disclosure, it’s important to have more than one set of eyes review everything from marketing materials to Forms ADV to make certain all required language is included and nothing is overlooked. A recent regulatory filing underscores how a lack of disclosure and not having sufficient written policies and procedures in place to prevent such lapses can create unnecessary conflicts of interest, regardless of adviser intent.

Posted in Disclosures
Five Investor Protections to Remember When Finalizing FINRA Pre-dispute Arbitration Agreements

Investment advisers should promptly review language used in mandated pre-dispute arbitration agreements in response to Regulatory Notice 21-16 recently issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Notice serves as a cautionary yellow light for firms that may be inclined to limit investor protections by improperly including adviser-friendly terms that ignore specific FINRA disclosure requirements.

Compliance Steps Fiduciaries Should Take Now to Help Ensure Continued Adherence with the DOL’s New ERISA Exemption

Professionals who work with “Plans”, as defined under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and for those that recommend certain investments to individual retirement accounts (“IRA”), such individuals must be mindful to update their firm’s policies and procedures now that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proceeding with the adoption of a fiduciary exemption that can impose restrictions upon and prevent fiduciaries from engaging in certain activities.

The Advantages of Outsourcing Your General Corporate Counsel

With greater scrutiny coming from the SEC, FINRA and state regulators, firms across the financial industry have turned to outsourced general counsel to assist with both regulatory compliance matters and traditional corporate counsel needs.

The Many Recent Signals that Foreshadow a More Aggressive SEC  in Terms of Enforcement Action and Stiffer Penalties for Wrongdoers

The first few months of 2021 have marked a clear shift in how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could soon start holding corporations to a much higher standard of accountability for actions that harm investors. A central theme of the SEC’s emerging mindset, as stated in a March 9, 2021, speech by Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw is the belief that corporate culture comes from the top and there is a strong need to incentivize companies to foster a culture of compliance, not misconduct.

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