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The Robare Ruling Regarding “May” Disclosures and “Willfulness”

The SEC continues to intensify its focus on investment advisers’ disclosures on Form ADV, including issues such as revenue sharing arrangements. A recent D.C. Court of Appeals decision finding that the use of the word “may” in such a disclosure violated the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 could have significant ramifications for investment advisers and the SEC’s Division of Enforcement going forward.

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Updated State Fiduciary and Best Interest Developments Chart

We have updated our state fiduciary/best interest developments chart. We are still waiting for finalization of the Nevada rules on the fiduciary duty for broker-dealers and investment advisors and the effective date of the New York rules on the sale of annuities and life insurance. In the meantime, though, Maryland and Massachusetts have stepped in with new developments.

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State Fiduciary and Best Interest Developments

A number of states are seeking to impose fiduciary or best interest requirements on broker-dealers, investment advisers, financial planners and/or insurance brokers and producers in their dealings with customers. While the rules vary from state to state, they are in addition to – and sometimes inconsistent with – federal requirements being considered by the SEC or by the Department of Labor for retirement investment advice. We have prepared a chart summarizing the activities in each state along with proposals of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which we update periodically as needed. You may access the chart here.

Guidance to Prevent Non-Line Supervisory Liability

In light of the supervisory standards applicable to compliance officers and in-house attorneys with broker-dealer and investment management firms, these individuals and firms need to appreciate and manage the risks of supervisory liability being applied to them due to the violative conduct of business personnel.  In an article titled “Compliance and Legal Officer Guidelines To Prevent Non-Line Supervisory Liability” my colleague Carrie DeLange and I analyzed the “Gutfreund Standard” and the SEC’s more recent guidance from a Division of Trading and Markets “FAQ,” and other statutes and rules, and provide guidance for compliance officers and in-house attorneys with broker-dealer and investment management firms to best manage these situations. Continue reading “Guidance to Prevent Non-Line Supervisory Liability”