SEC Creates Bogus ICO Site to Teach About Cryptocurrency Fraud

On May 16, 2018, the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy launched an educational website meant to demonstrate a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). The website, HoweyCoins.com mimics a bogus coin offering touting a too-good-to-be-true investment opportunity. The website features several of the features common to fraudulent offerings, including promises of guaranteed returns, complex … Continued

Get ready for Form ADV, Part 3: Form CRS

Are you ready for Form ADV Part 3? As if the last annual updating amendment filing was not tedious enough with all the additional information related to separately managed accounts, the process will further evolve with the SEC’s proposal for a Form ADV Part 3, also referred to as Form CRS. But don’t worry, it … 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

OCIE Examined 15% of RIAs in 2017

In 2017, the SEC examined 2,114 investment advisers, approximately 15 percent of the 14,000+ registered investment advisers, the SEC confirmed in its Fiscal Year 2019 Congressional Budget Justification Annual Performance Plan. In the same report, the SEC said the staff will continue to improve its efforts of RIAs, noting that nearly 35 percent of all … Continued

DOL Rule Extension to Overlap with SEC Consideration of Fiduciary Standards

Following the Department of Labor’s November 27, 2017 announcement of an 18-month extension to the existing Fiduciary Rule transition period, the industry will enter a period of further study for proper standards for disclosure or elimination of conflicted compensation arrangements. That’s a mouthful right there. The Obama administration’s March 31, 2017 implementation of various new prohibited … Continued

Schedule 13D/13F Clarity on ETF Issues

Do I need to file a 13D or 13G if my client accounts hold in excess of 5% of an ETF? Generally, no. The SEC has granted no-action relief to ETFs with respect to compliance with Section 13(d) of the Securities Exchange Act. Section 13(d) was designed to require disclosure when holders begin to accumulate … Continued

New Remedy Coming for SEC’s Custody Rule?

The SEC’s Custody Rule continues to be a common source of confusion and a landmine for noncompliance. Custodial paperwork has caused huge headaches for investment advisers, who are not a party to the agreement and may not even have a copy of the custodial new account paperwork. The issue with existing guidance is that it … Continued

SEC Issues MiFID II No-Action Relief

Some industry anxiety was assuaged on October 26 with three no-action letters that offer relief for some US regulated broker-dealers and investment advisers regarding European MiFID II regulations. The letters followed consultation with the European authorities, and are designed to address concerns that investors could lose access to valuable research. MiFID II is a series of regulations … Continued

SEC Offers Regulatory Relief to Advisers Affected by Hurricanes

On September 28, 2017, the SEC provided regulatory relief to individuals and entities subject to the ’33 Act, ’34 Act and ’40 Act who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria. The relief came in the form of conditional exemptions from certain requirements. The hurricanes, which struck between August and September of 2017, devastated … Continued

Surprise, Surprise: SEC Conducting Unannounced Exams

The Boston Regional Office of the SEC has recently conducted roughly 20 unannounced visits to registered investment advisers in the region. This fact, confirmed during the recent meeting of the New England Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser Association (NEBDIAA), is in keeping with the SEC’s renewed focus on a more robust examination program. While onsite, the … Continued

Latest Content

Past Conference Speaker Inspiration for The Rock’s Next Blockbuster

If you attended Ascendant’s 2016 San Diego conference,  you will no doubt remember our outstanding keynote speaker, Jeff Glasbrenner. Jeff is a below-the-knee amputee who was fresh off becoming the first American amputee ever to scale Mount Everest. In San Diego, he spoke about turning challenges into triumphs, and about succeeding in the face of … Continued

Relief at Last – New Guidance on Inadvertent Custody

The SEC quietly provided additional guidance to the industry about inadvertent custody in supplemental responses to the Custody Rule FAQs. In Question II.11 and II.12, the SEC stated that it would not recommend enforcement against an adviser that does not have a copy of a client’s custodial agreement, and does not know or have reason … Continued

Standards of Business Conduct: Personal Trading and Beyond

One of the most important assets a firm can possess is a sterling reputation, and maintaining such a reputation involves proactive attention. While most firms address standards of business conduct in their Codes of Ethics, it’s important to periodically reassess and update them. By incorporating technology, firms can mitigate reputational risk and maximize efficiency throughout … Continued

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