SEC Settles Three Additional Enforcement Actions for Inadequate Share-Class Disclosures

In connection with the SEC’s continued focus on the selection of mutual fund share classes by investment advisers, the agency recently settled three separate enforcement proceedings with investment advisers. In an effort to maximize the 12b‑1 fees it collected, each respondent allegedly failed to purchase the lowest-cost mutual fund share class for its advisory clients and failed to disclose the conflict of interest presented when purchasing mutual fund share classes for advisory clients. These actions evidence the SEC’s continued focus on conflicts of interest, particularly in connection with share class selection and investor protection. This article details the SEC’s allegations in each of the three proceedings, the alleged compliance failures of the respondents and the terms of the three settlements. For other recent enforcement actions involving mutual fund share class recommendations, see “Ameriprise Settlement Reflects Continued SEC Focus on Conflicts of Interest and Retail Investors” (Apr. 19, 2018); “Recent SEC Settlement Evidences Agency’s Continued Aggressive Enforcement of Conflicts of Interest” (Sep. 21, 2017); and “Advisers Investing Client Assets in Affiliated Funds Could Face SEC Scrutiny for Conflicts of Interest” (Oct. 13, 2016).

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