Practical Compliance & Risk Management: Best Execution

In the financial services world, we frequently hear the mantra that advisers, as fiduciaries, have an obligation to seek “best execution” in relation to their clients’ transactions. In meeting this obligation, an adviser must execute securities transactions for clients in such a manner that the clients’ total cost or proceeds in each transaction is the most favorable under the circumstances. In assessing whether this standard is met, an adviser should consider the full range and quality of a broker’s services when placing trades, including, among other things, execution capability, commission rate, financial responsibility, responsiveness to the adviser, and the value of any research services provided.

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Evolution of Fiduciary Rules Begins to Take Shape in SEC

On April 18, 2018, the SEC voted to propose several new rules and reforms related to fiduciary standards. The package intends to raise and clarify standards of conduct for broker-dealers and investment advisers, and to provide clarity regarding fees, conflicts and other material matters. It also aims to ensure that the standards can be understood … Continued

Insurance Considerations for Investment Advisers

How much coverage is enough? What types of insurance policies do you need? Whether you are starting an investment advisory practice, launching a new line of business, or reevaluating your existing risks, there are critical questions to ask to make sure you understand the various ways to protect your firm. Join us for a practical … Continued

Fifth Circuit Weighs In on DOL Fiduciary Rule

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule. In a 2-1 split, the Fifth Circuit’s decision overrules a Dallas District Court’s decision, which had previously upheld the rule. Unfortunately, the decision does little to settle the fate of the beleaguered rule. Although it … Continued

SEC Proposes Amending Investment Company Liquidity Disclosures in Forms N-PORT and N-1A

On March 14, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments to the mutual fund liquidity-related disclosure requirements. Specifically, the proposal: Adds a new requirement to “briefly discuss the operation and effectiveness of the Fund’s liquidity risk management program during the most recently completed fiscal year” in the Fund’s Management Discussion of Fund Performance … Continued

Paradigm Shift in SEC Exams, Benefits of a Mock Exam

For investment advisers currently going through an SEC exam, the process likely bears little resemblance to exams of old. Call it the new normal, a paradigm shift, or simply the effects of the SEC having to do more with less, but anecdotal evidence among those now experiencing the exam process suggests some interesting new trends. … Continued

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Ascendant works together with clients to identify and assess critical needs through customized plans. If you need assistance with compliance functions, regulatory services, cybersecurity or technology tools, we’d love to speak with you.