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 Think Advisor's Tech Round Up, an upward trend of fee-only models for RIAs, and anticipated changes to the Fiduciary Rule.
Here's our top investment adviser compliance articles for the week of May 28th, 2021:
1. LPL Picks SmartAsset for Vendor Affinity Program: Tech Roundup (Author – Jeff Berman Think Advisor)
Think Advisor shares their tech round up for the wealth management industry, including partnerships, product releases and acquisitions. First up, LPL Financial has added SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor platform to its Vendor Affinity Program, which connects validated consumer products with fiduciary financial advisors. Morgan Stanley and Microsoft announced a strategic cloud partnership. The partnership will expand Morgan Stanley’s digital tools and resources for its employees and clients, also creating easier data sharing for its institutional clients. The deal will enable Microsoft to broaden their reach in the financial service's industry.
RIA in a Box released a new Communications Archiving and Review solution for state and SEC registered RIA firms. The new solution enhances RIA’s compliance programs by automating the archiving process for website content, social media, and email communication, and simplifies communications reviews.
Devin McGinley covers the shift in RIA firm’s compensation models to fee-only models. The SEC reported an increase of 20% for firms with fee-only models. Statistics also show the fee-only firms are building larger books of business, with median firms growing AUM by 42% compared over a two-year span. McGinley suggests that the work from home policies encouraged advisers to take up the fee-only business model along with the independence that comes with it. On the topic of independence, there were 537 reported breakaways in 2020, stated as relatively high compared to past years.
3. WealthManagement.com Announces 2021 'Wealthies' Finalists (Author – Patrick Donachie, Wealth Management)
In this article, Patrick Donachie discusses upcoming, in-person awards program, the ‘Wealthies’. Finalists for the annual program are nominated to honor individuals, organizations, and companies who help financial advisors better their business and outcomes for clients. With a total of 221 different organizations chosen as finalists, Envestnet garnered the most finalist nominations with eight, followed by Raymond James and Morningstar with seven, and BNY Mellon, eMoney, Fidelity Investments and Orion Advisor Solutions with six apiece. The program will hold afternoon sessions featuring discussions around technology and financial advisors' practices, a "buyers panel" for advisory technology, as well as technology demonstrations from awards finalists. Sessions will take place at the New York Athletic Club, followed by the main awards ceremony at New York City’s Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City on September 9, 2021.
4. SIFMA Reg Watchers Expect Only Minor Tweaks to Trump-Era Fiduciary Rule (Author – Patrick Donachie, Wealth Management)
Last week, a regulatory expert at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) revealed that the industry should expect only small tweaks to the Fiduciary Rule, titled Improving Investment Advice for Workers and Retirees, and that firms should be working towards compliance. Lisa Bleier, the managing director and associate general counsel, federal government relations for the SIFMA, also reminded advisors to refer to the DOL’s FAQs page for more clarification on the Fiduciary Rule. Patrick Donachie also highlights other topics of concern related to legislation changes in the industry, such as the DOL’s recent withdrawal of the independent contractor rule, and the prospective PRO Act, which could limit independent broker-dealers’ contractor status.
Ryan Neal shares results and findings from the recent “Trends in Investing Survey”, which indicate an uptick in advisor’s acceptance and interest in cryptocurrencies. The survey is conducted annually to learn about where advisors are investing today and where they plan to increase or decrease allocations over the next 12 months. The article suggests that advisors are aware that cryptocurrencies are like other disruptive forces in the industry, including robo advisors, and that it’s in their best interest to get up to speed for their clients.
Don't forget to check out last week's top RIA compliance news articles that focus on foreseeable changes to regulatory exams, requests for the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") to address critical adviser issues, and broker-dealers' shifting to the RIA model.