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SEC Continues to Pursue Advisers That Provide Inadequate Disclosures About Mutual Fund Share Class Selection Practices and Other Conflicts of Interest

The SEC’s focus on protecting retail investors continues unabated. In a recent enforcement proceeding against a dually registered investment adviser and broker-dealer, the SEC claimed that the firm made inadequate disclosures to clients about the fees it received from a third‑party custodian that it recommended to clients, as well as about its selection of mutual fund share classes that charged 12b-1 fees when lower‑fee classes were available. This article analyzes the alleged compliance failures and the terms of the settlement order. For other recent enforcement actions involving mutual fund share class recommendations, see “SEC Settles Three Additional Enforcement Actions for Inadequate Share-Class Disclosures” (May 17, 2018); “Ameriprise Settlement Reflects Continued SEC Focus on Conflicts of Interest and Retail Investors” (Apr. 19, 2018); and “Recent SEC Settlement Evidences Agency’s Continued Aggressive Enforcement of Conflicts of Interest” (Sep. 21, 2017).

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