Broker-dealers face substantial work revamping their marketing materials in light of the SEC’s recent guidance on the types of financial professionals who can use the term “advisor” in their titles under Regulation Best Interest, according to news reports.
The SEC said in an FAQ in late April that, generally, only those professionals registered as investment advisors will be able to call themselves “advisors” under Reg BI, which has a June 30 compliance deadline.
The SEC exempts broker-dealers acting in roles that don’t involve investment advisory services to retail clients and those who are state-registered investment advisors or dually registered.
Broker-dealers who’ve been using the term will now need to overhaul their marketing materials, customer agreements, disclosures, websites and job descriptions, compliance consultants tell FA-IQ sister publication FundFire.
Ismael Manzanares, senior director for consulting at National Regulatory Services, tells FundFire that marketing is the “greatest challenge” facing such firms. In addition to changing all of their marketing materials, they’ll also likely have to file the materials again with Finra advertising, he says, according to the publication.
Other financial companies, such as insurers, will also need to change signage, telephone listings and building directories, Lawrence Stadulis, partner at Stradley Ronon, tells FundFire.
The SEC’s recent guidance may also lead more broker-dealers to become dually registered in a bid to be able to call themselves advisors and retain clients, the publication writes. But that will also require a significant effort, according to FundFire.
“Most firms that are dual-registrants began as broker-dealers and have structured their compliance programs around SEC and Finra broker-dealer regulations,” Amy Lynch, founder and president of FrontLine Compliance, tells the publication. “As a dual-registrant, they also need to build out an Investment Advisers Act compliance program, which is ... a completely different set of regulations. It can be a struggle to effectively comply with both buy-side and sell-side regulations for the same registered entity.”
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