SEC Sanctions Adviser That Failed to Disclose Sufficient Information About Its Conflicts of Interest in Recommending Wrap Fee Programs to Clients

Wrap fee programs remain an SEC examination priority. See “Retail Investors Top List of OCIE 2018 Exam Priorities” (Mar. 8, 2018). A recent SEC enforcement proceeding involving a dual-registered investment adviser and broker-dealer illustrates that not only are wrap fee program sponsors subject to scrutiny, but so too are advisers who recommend third-party wrap fee programs to their clients. The relevant investment adviser allegedly favored a wrap fee program offered by an affiliated adviser over comparable programs offered by two independent advisers, and it failed to disclose sufficient information regarding the conflicts of interest created by the programs’ fee structures. This article details the alleged misconduct and the terms of the settlement order. For more on SEC concerns about wrap fee programs, see “Former SEC Examiners Provide Perspective on 2018 OCIE Examination Priorities” (Apr. 5, 2018); and “Pay to Play, Revenue Sharing and Wrap Fees Remain on the SEC’s Radar” (Apr. 20, 2017).

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