More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Use and Misuse of Social Media Social media is an inexpensive and effective way to communicate with established and prospective clients. Nevertheless, when RIAs utilize social media to promote their advisory practices, they risk compliance problems for their firms.
- Client Commission Practices and Soft Dollars RIAs should always evaluate whether the products and services they receive from broker-dealers are appropriate. The SEC suggested that an RIAs failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisors fiduciary duty to clients, so RIAs must evaluate their soft dollar relationships on a regular basis to ensure they are disclosed properly and that they do not negatively impact the best execution of clients transactions.
While 2011 was the “real beginning” of implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the United States, 2012 will be the year of “finalizing” Dodd-Frank implementation, Tim Ryan (left), CEO of the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), said Thursday at SIFMA’s 2012 “State of the Industry” media briefing in New York.
Ken Bentsen, executive VP of public policy and advocacy for SIFMA, added at the briefing that about 22% of the mandated Dodd-Frank rules have been implemented, another 40% have been proposed and yet another 40% have yet to be proposed.
Only about 25% of the Dodd-Frank deadlines have been met, Bentsen said, but “a lot of [rule proposals] will be coming out this year.” Namely the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rule putting brokers under a fiduciary mandate. Bentsen said that SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro’s recent comments that a fiduciary rule would be “business-model neutral” are “entirely appropriate.”
While Dodd-Frank mandates that the SEC complete between 93 and 98 rules this year, there is no mandate for the SEC to issue a fiduciary rule, Bentsen (right) said. However, divisions at the SEC are “working through the [fiduciary] proposal” and SIFMA expects the agency to issue a rule proposal this year. “The SEC is moving in the right direction; [a fiduciary rule] absolutely needs to be business-model neutral.”
However, the SEC will not likely be issuing a rule to revamp 12b-1 fees, Bentsen said, until the fiduciary rule comes out.
But House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Spencer Bachus’ bill calling for a self-regulatory organization (SRO) for advisors will likely be introduced in that committee, Bentsen added. “We’ll see further movement on Bachus’ SRO bill” this year.
As for taxes, while not much by way of tax reform will occur this year, except for action on the payroll tax cut extension, corporate tax reform will continue to be discussed, Bentsen said. And, he said, some decision will have to be made on the Bush tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year. SIFMA “advocates for a continued extension” of the Bush tax cuts.