Each week we are giving you our weekly report highlighting the top compliance news articles from various industry news publications. We have selected the most relevant and important news articles related to registered investment adviser ("RIA") compliance and regulatory issues. This week's recap focuses on the Itegria acquisition by RIA in a Box, Think Advisors tech round up, and the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) withdrawal of the independent contractor rule.
Here's our top investment adviser compliance articles for the week of April 30th, 2021:
1. Cybersecurity firm Itegria sold to software company RIA in a Box (Author – Ben Miller, Chicago Business Journal)
This week, Itegria, a cybersecurity and operational software provider serving the RIA industry was acquired by RIA in a Box. RIA in a Box will now serve 2,200 RIA firms managing over $400 billion in assets under management. Richard Mabbun, the CEO of Itegria shared his enthusiasm for the acquisition by stating “we are very excited to ensure our software driven solution can empower RIA firms of all sizes and combine with RIA in a Box's expanding compliance and operational service capabilities for RIA firms.”
2. T3 and ScratchWorks Team Up for Fall Conferences: Tech Roundup (Author – Jeff Berman, Think Advisor)
Think Advisor’s tech round up and fall conferences updates are highlighted in this article. The highlights include the following: 1) Technology Tools for Today (T3) will be held Monday, Sept. 27 through Friday, Oct. 1, in Denton, Texas and attendees will have free admission to the ScratchWorks competition, 2) Orion and FeeX have partnered to help advisers manage and trade held-away accounts, 3) Fidelity model portfolios can now be accessed via JPMorgan’s 55ip tax-smart investment platform, and 4) RIA in a Box completed an acquisition of Itegria, a cloud-based virtual desktop provider.
3. Data security concerns force the DC industry to cooperate (Author – Fred Barstein, Investment News)
This article explores the financial industry’s concerns about data security for defined-contribution plans and participants, following the recently issued Department of Labor guidance on the fiduciary rule and the Government Accountability Office report. Fred Barstein echoes the conclusion that protecting this data is considered a fiduciary duty that will come under regulatory scrutiny. The DOL has expressed strong concern for maintaining the privacy of plan participants.
Industry experts are working together to create a standardized file format for record keepers to use for storing and sharing data along with industry-wide cybersecurity standards.
4. DOL Will Withdraw Trump-Era Independent Contractor Rule (Author – Patrick Donachie, WealthManagement)
The Department of Labor announced the removal of the rule entitled “Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act”, which provided workers with a test to determine whether they are employees or independent contractors under the FLSA. The DOL stated the rule was inconsistent with the FLSA and would be “confusing and disruptive” for workers and businesses. This article also highlights the DOL’s concerns that workers miss crucial wage and related protections when they are not classified as employees.
Patrick Donachie discusses the industry oppositions to the rule withdrawal in regards to financial advisers, including the argument that the rule provides clarity to firms and independent advisers, and withdrawal would be a threat independent advisers' entrepreneurial freedom.
5. In a virtual world, advisors need to curate their digital personas (Author – Chana Schoenberger, Financial Planning)
Chana Schoenberger provides an overview on how advisers can create digital personas with clients and prospective clients in mind. Beyond traditional digital marketing, it’s important to consider that clients are doing their due diligence and are familiar with your social presence. The article stresses the importance of posting online cautiously, and to keep in mind it’s not possible to truly delete anything in the virtual world. RIAs are encouraged to focus on sharing or posting valuable and educational material, and tell stories that show personality to stand out against competitors.
Don't forget to check out last week's top RIA compliance news articles that focus on The North American Securities Administrators Association's ("NASAA") annual report on RIA oversight, the Security and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") Ad Rule, and the Department of Labor's ("DOL") fiduciary exemption.