Ameriprise Settlement Reflects Continued SEC Focus on Conflicts of Interest and Retail Investors

An adviser faces a potential conflict of interest every time it recommends a product that generates fees or other revenues to it or an affiliate. The conflict that arises when recommending a mutual fund share class to a client ties in directly with the SEC’s renewed focus on protecting retail investors. See “Retail Investors Top List of OCIE 2018 Exam Priorities” (Mar. 8, 2018). A recent SEC settlement order with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) is a prime example. Ameriprise allegedly neglected to advise certain clients that they were eligible for waiver of the sales load on certain mutual fund share classes that it offered, resulting in those clients paying unnecessarily high sales loads and other fees. The order comes on the heels of the SEC’s recent announcement of its Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative (Share Class Initiative). This article examines the facts underlying the order and the outcome of the settlement. For analysis of the Share Class Initiative, see “What Does the SEC’s Latest Self-Reporting Initiative Portend for the Future of Enforcement?” (Mar. 1, 2018).

To read the full article

Continue reading your article with a HFLR subscription.