Articles Tagged with Form ADV

On November 17th, the Texas State Securities Board’s Office of Inspections and Compliance charged Mowery Capital Management, LLC (“Mowery Capital”) and one of its investment adviser representatives (collectively “Respondents”) with fraud for failing to disclose certain conflicts of interests, charging excessive fees, plagiarizing advertising material, and other material misrepresentations. The complaint requests that the state Securities Commissioner revoke Respondents’ registration with the state, levy an administrative fine, and issue a cease and desist order prohibiting any further fraudulent behavior.

When registering as a registered investment adviser, a Form ADV must be completed and filed with the appropriate securities authority. Part 2 of the Form ADV, or the “Brochure,” acts as the primary disclosure document for clients and requires the applicant to write in plain English general information about the business (i.e. types of services offered, fee schedule, business and educational background of employees), including any possible conflicts of interest the applicant may have.
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As a result of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), mid-sized firms of less than $100 million in assets under management should make the switch from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversight to state regulatory oversight. Most advisers know that under the newly adopted SEC rules, mid-sized advisers that were SEC registered prior to Dodd-Frank must remain SEC registered through the first quarter of 2012, and then complete their switch to state regulation by June 28, 2012. Firms wishing to switch should have already completed the state registration process to become effective in the state or states in which the adviser is registering.

It was estimated by this time that 3,200 firms would have made the switch to state regulation. However, spokesman John Nester for the SEC announced that as of April 5, a little more than 1,900 firms claimed that they were no longer eligible for SEC registration and needed to make the switch.
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As a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed on July 21, 2010, there have been significant reforms applicable to non-US advisers conducting business in the United States, including new registration requirements under the Advisers Act (the “Act”).

Non-U.S. advisers may need to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to conduct future business within the United States. A non-U.S. adviser is defined in the Advisers Act as an investment adviser that:

  • Has no place of business in the United States;
  • Has a total of less than 15 U.S. clients and investors in private funds;
  • Has less than $25 million in assets under management associated with the U.S. clients and investors; and
  • Does not hold itself out generally as a U.S. investment adviser.

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As we first reported on this blog site in September, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) held a forum, through its Investment Adviser subcommittee, to discuss transition issues for Mid-Sized Advisers under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. As we approach the annual December moratorium on new registrations and renewals, it seems appropriate to review and comment on some of NASAA’s suggestions.

The first step that any Mid-Sized Adviser should take should be to contact his or her state regulatory agency to determine whether it has adopted special rules, forms, or timetables for use. However, the NASAA committee generally provided the following procedure that its state members intended to follow:
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With the increase in authority granted by the Dodd-Frank Act to state regulators over registered investment advisers, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number and intensity of state examinations of IA firms. In a national survey coordinated by NASAA, and released this fall, 40 state RIA examiners were found to have uncovered 3,543 violations in examinations of 825 firms during the first half of this year, an average of over 4 violations per firm. The survey found that registration and books and records violations predominated, with violations related to unethical practices and supervision not far behind.

Well over half of the firms examined were cited for registration violations, and 45% for books and record violations. The examinations also found significant numbers of violations in the areas of advertising, compliance with privacy rules, financial disclosure, fees charged and custody of funds.
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On June 22, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new rules and rule amendments under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to implement provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Among other things, the rules, as adopted, provided transitional provisions for investment advisers required to switch from SEC to state registration because they fail to meet the new requirement of $100 million in assets under management, require advisers to hedge funds and other private funds to register with the SEC, require reporting by certain exempt investment advisers, and make substantial changes to the Form ADV.

The final rule relating to transition differed somewhat from the rule originally proposed by the SEC. The final rule requires that any “mid-sized” registrant with the SEC (defined as any firm with between $25 million and $100 million under management) that is registered as of July 21, 2011 (Dodd-Frank’s effective date) must remain registered with the SEC through the transition. New applicants that meet the definition of mid-sized advisers and who seek to apply between January 1, 2011 and July 21, 2011 can apply either with the SEC or the state or states in which it must register.
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The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) issued a press release this week encouraging all federal covered investment advisers with less than $100 million under management to consider dually registering with OFR and the SEC, and to initiate OFR registration as soon as possible. Dual registration would allow the investment adviser to continue as a federal covered adviser while Florida reviews the firm’s application. Upon being approved by OFR, the firm can then withdraw its SEC registration after July 21, 2011.

Florida’s recommendation was prompted by the time it takes to renew and approve applications. Early application increases a firm’s chance of being approved prior to July 21.
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