SEC Reiterates Standards of Conduct for Advisers and Broker‑Dealers As to Conflicts

The SEC’s focus on conflicts of interest cannot be understated. A recent staff bulletin (Bulletin) discusses conflicts by asking and answering 13 questions about the respective standards of care and duties for investment advisers and broker-dealers (collectively, firms). The Bulletin focuses on identification of conflicts; conflicts associated with both compensation received by firms themselves and compensation of their representatives; mitigation and elimination of conflicts; and ways firms should disclose conflicts. In addition to noting that dealing with conflicts should not be a mere “check-the-box” exercise, the Bulletin stresses the need for appropriate policies and procedures; that firms must address not only firm-level conflicts but also conflicts that may affect how their financial professionals render advice; the importance of clear disclosure; that some conflicts are so significant that disclosure is not enough and, in those cases, mitigation or elimination is required; the need to document conflicts-related practices; and that managing conflicts is just one element of acting in the best interests of clients. This article synthesizes the staff’s guidance. See “Recent Experiences With SEC Examinations and Enforcement: Disclosures, Conflicts and Trading Issues (Part Two of Two)” (Dec. 16, 2021); and “SEC Exam and Enforcement Priorities: Cybersecurity, Business Continuity and Conflicts of Interest (Part One of Two)” (Jul. 22, 2021).

To read the full article

Continue reading your article with a HFLR subscription.