Funds

FYI: Funds Warned About Inaccurate Performance and Fee Disclosures

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FYI: The Division of Investment Management has warned funds to verify the accuracy of their performance and fee disclosures prior to filing them with the SEC and providing them to investors. The warning was prompted by several disclosure issues observed by the staff, including funds: failing to reflect sales loads in the fund’s average annual returns table. making other performance errors in prospectuses, such as showing negative performance as positive and transposing performance of share classes or multiple indexes. incorrectly showing net expenses that exceed gross expenses in the expense table, resulting from the inaccurate reflection of fee waiver recoupments […]

Advisers

FYI: More Advisers Charged with Share Class Selection Disclosure Violations

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FYI: We learned more today about the SEC’s intended handling of advisory firms both inside and outside the ambit of its 2018 Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative. Today the SEC announced settlements with an additional 16 advisers that self-reported under the Initiative, who together were ordered to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling nearly $10 million. These 16 advisers were in addition to the 79 self-reporting advisers who settled earlier this year under the Initiative for an aggregate of over $125 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. So far, none of the firms that have self-reported have been ordered to […]

Advisers

FYI: Significant Disclosure Guidance

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FYI: Three significant items have been posted on the SEC’s website explaining certain disclosure requirements for BDs, IAs and funds: 1) A small entity compliance guide has been posted addressing requirements for BDs and IAs under newly adopted Form CRS. The guide provides a helpful summary highlighting the drafting, filing and updating requirements for the form. While it is a summary intended to assist small firms, the guide provides a helpful, succinct explanation of requirements applicable to all BDs and IAs using Form CRS. Form CRS Relationship Summary and Amendments to Form ADV — A Small Entity Compliance Guide: https://www.sec.gov/info/smallbus/secg/form-crs-relationship-summary. […]

Advisers

FYI: SEC Issues Proxy Voting Guidance for Advisers

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FYI: At its open meeting today, the SEC voted (3 to 2, Commissioners Jackson and Lee voting ‘no’) to publish guidance regarding the proxy voting responsibilities of investment advisers under Advisers Act Rule 206(4)-6 and related registration and reporting forms under the Investment Company Act. It is worth noting that the SEC has been discussing proxy voting issues from many angles for quite some time. Importantly, last fall, the Division of Investment Management withdrew two previously issued no-action letters — Egan-Jones Proxy Services (May 27, 2004) and Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. (Sept. 15, 2004) — addressing advisers’ use of proxy […]

Advisers

FYI: Mutual Fund Waiver Initiative Results Announced by FINRA

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FYI: FINRA announced (press release: http://www.finra.org/newsroom/2019/finra-announces-final-results-mutual-fund-waiver-initiative) that it has settled with 56 broker-dealer firms in its Mutual Fund Waiver Initiative, obtaining a total of $89 million in restitution for nearly 110,000 charitable and retirement accounts. The Mutual Fund Waiver Initiative was a multi-year initiative started in 2015 with settlements with firms that self-reported failures to consider applicable mutual fund share class sales charge waivers for charitable and retirement plan accounts. This was followed by additional self-reported failures, which led FINRA to launch a sweep exam looking at this area. In the end, FINRA sanctioned 56 firms for failing to waive […]

Funds

FYI: FAQs Posted for Funds Reporting on New Forms N-PORT, N-CEN

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FYI: The Division of Investment Management has posted updated FAQs with guidance on investment company reports required under the Investment Company Reporting Modernization Rules adopted in October 2016 and revised in December 2017 and January 2019. The FAQs address questions in the following categories: • Compliance Dates and General Filing Obligations • Form N-PORT • Regulation S-X • Form N-CEN. Not surprisingly, the FAQs reveal that funds may be running into unanticipated technical and interpretive issues in preparing their reports stemming from, for example, delays of the compliance dates, differences in methodologies (such as in valuation), funds/classes that have terminated, […]

Advisers

FYI: The Senior Safe Act and Immunity

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FYI: The SEC, NASAA and FINRA have jointly issued a Fact Sheet about The Senior Safe Act enacted by Congress last year, to help raise awareness of the Act and to help explain how the Act’s immunity provisions work. In principal part, the Act provides qualified immunity to certain individuals and financial institutions — which could include IAs and BDs — from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding for reporting a case of potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency. The multiple-agency Fact Sheet and press release can be accessed here: https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2019-75. The Senior Safe Act […]

Advisers

FYI: Is the SEC Wearing Its “Reasonableness Pants”?

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FYI: In a recent speech, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce questioned whether the SEC was wearing its “reasonableness pants”* when it undertook the recent Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative, which earlier this year resulted in 79 settled enforcement actions against advisers that voluntarily self-reported having selected for clients mutual fund share classes that carried a 12b-1 fee when a lower-cost share class for the same fund was available to the clients, ostensibly without adequate disclosure of the attendant conflicts of interest. While acknowledging that the aggregation of all those cases together helped to preserve precious SEC staff resources, Commissioner Peirce does […]

Advisers

FYI: Resources on Protecting Senior Investors

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FYI: The SEC’s Office of the Investor Advocate has issued a paper entitled “How the SEC Works to Protect Senior Investors,” describing what the SEC is doing to protect senior investors, especially in the areas of investor education, regulatory examinations and enforcement. The paper is well worth a read by anyone interested in compliance relating to seniors, as it summarizes work in the area not only by the SEC, but also by FINRA (for example, FINRA Rule 2165 on Financial Exploitation of Specified Adults) and the states (for example, the NASAA Model Act to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation, […]

Funds

FYI: New Rule 485(a) Automatic Effectiveness Practices

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FYI: The Division of Investment Management’s Office of Disclosure Review and Accounting is urging funds filing registration statements under the automatic effectiveness rules (Rule 485(a)) to follow certain new practices when making filings that raise complex issues or issues of first impression not easily resolved because of a lack of precedent, such as novel investment strategies, fee structures and/or operational policies (for example, significant changes to policies related to purchases and redemptions by investors). Although most filings that seek automatic effectiveness under Rule 485(a) do not raise these types of unique or novel issues, the staff is urging registrants with […]