More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Scope of the Fiduciary Duty Owed by Investment Advisors A fiduciary obligation goes beyond the suitability standard typically owed by registered representatives of broker-dealer firms to clients. The relationship is built on the premise that the advisor will always do the right thing for the person or entity receiving advice.
- Disaster Recovery Plans and Succession Planning RIAs owe a fiduciary duty to clients to prepare for disasters and other contingencies. If an RIA does not have a disaster recovery plan, clients financial well-being may be jeopardized. RIAs should also engage in succession planning, ensuring a smooth transaction if an owner or principal leaves.
The Securities and Exchange Commission published for public comment in October its Draft Strategic Plan outlining the Commission's strategic goals for fiscal years 2010 through 2015. The SEC says the draft plan surveys the forces shaping the SEC's environment and outlines over 70 initiatives designed to support its primary strategic goals. Comments on the proposal are due by November 16.
Besides strengthening the SEC's enforcement division, the strategic plan also sets out beefing up investment advisor and broker/dealer oversight. The Commission pointed to its consideration of rules designed to prevent political contributions from influencing the selection of investment advisers to the detriment of public pension plan clients, as well as rules that would provide additional safeguards to investors when an adviser has custody of client assets. The SEC says it will also "consider requiring those who provide investment advice to provide clients and prospective clients with clear, current, and more meaningful disclosure of their business practices, conflicts of interest, and backgrounds."