May 20, 2015 the Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously approved amendments to Form ADV requesting more information about the composition of client portfolios and risk profiles, and advisers use of social media. The 60-day comment window for Form ADV is now open. Thus far, the comments are mixed reviews.
Small investment advisory firms appear to have the greatest concern citing that the changes will create more record-keeping, adding a new burden on already stretched to the limit compliance resources. The growing concern is that for smaller firms; every hour spent reviewing and completing compliance initiatives is an hour not spent with clients growing the practice. In addition, some firms state the proposed information is not really all that meaningful, and that Form ADV already contains too much information which prospective clients often don’t read.
SEC Chair, Mary Jo White indicated in her announcement of the proposal that the amendments are part of a series of rule-makings being put forth to enhance monitoring and regulation of the asset management industry. Further, she states the agency plans to use the additional data to improve its ability to conduct “more targeted” exams. And finally, the information will allow the public and the Commission to better understand the risk profile of individual advisers and the industry.
The proposed changes to investment adviser registration and reporting include:
Require aggregate information related to assets held and use of borrowings and derivatives in separately managed accounts. (Approximately 73 percent of SEC registered investment advisers manage a wide variety of client assets in separately managed accounts, which generally provide advisory clients with individualized investment advice and direct ownership of the securities and other assets in the account.)
Permit (by rule) certain “umbrella registration” filing arrangements that are currently outlined in staff guidance.
Provide additional information about an adviser’s advisory business and including branch office operations and the use of social media.
Proposed changes to Investment Advisers Act Rules
Proposed amendments to Investment Advisers Act Rule 2042 would require advisers to maintain records of the calculation of performance information that is distributed to any person. Currently, advisers are required to maintain performance information that is distributed to 10 or more persons.
The proposed amendments also would require advisers to maintain communications related to performance or rate of return of accounts and securities recommendations.
What are your thoughts regarding the proposed changes? Post a comment here or weigh in on SEC.gov
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Join our June 29, 2015 – New York Compliance Roundtable discussion on this topic. See details on our website.