Thursday, December 19, 2013

Colorado Securities Commissioner Sanctions UBS Financial Services Inc. Regarding Unlicensed Sales Assistants

This is an interesting item to take note of. As a reminder, supervised persons that interface with clients must be careful to either limit their interactions to operational and administrative matters, unless they are properly licensed. That means one must have the required exams (Series 65 and 66) and be properly registered in the state(s) in which the clients are located, unless otherwise exempt from registration.


For Immediate Release – December 18, 2013

Contact: Fred Joseph, Banking and Securities Commissioner or Gerald Rome, Deputy Securities Commissioner at 303-894-2320

Colorado Securities Commissioner Sanctions UBS Financial Services Inc. Regarding Unlicensed Sales Assistants

Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph announced today the terms of a settlement between the Colorado Division of Securities and UBS Financial Services Inc., stemming from the Division of Securities' claims that the brokerage firm allowed some of their sales assistants to accept unsolicited orders to buy or sell securities from Colorado residents without being properly licensed in the state of Colorado.

The settlement concludes an investigation led by state securities regulators into allegations that UBS allowed its sales assistants to accept trade orders from clients, a practice that requires licensing of the sales assistant's home state and in the client's state. The Division of Securities investigation found that this was not always the case, and that UBS's supervisory system was not reasonably designed to ensure that its sales assistants fully complied with Colorado's licensing requirements. UBS was also found to have violated the books and record rules because its order tickets did not always identify the person who accepted a client order.

As part of the settlement, UBS has been censured and ordered to cease and desist from future violations, and to pay back licensing fees and penalty to the State of Colorado in the amount of $66,314.23.

The multi-state task force investigating this matter consisted of state securities regulators from Colorado, Texas, Missouri, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware. State securities regulators, including Colorado, are continuing their investigations into similar misconduct by other firms.

The Colorado Division of Securities is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Colorado Securities Act, the Colorado Commodity Code, the Colorado Municipal Bond Supervision Act, and the Local Government Investment Pool Trust Fund Administration and Enforcement Act. The Division licenses and regulates stockbrokers and investment advisers and the securities investments they offer, sell, and advise about in Colorado. The Division also investigates cases of alleged securities fraud.

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Massachusetts NEW IAR Requirement -- CORI

On October 18, 2013 Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth (the "Division") sent a letter to registered investment advisors and others, notifying them of the requirement to renew their registration as an investment advisor and investment advisor representative ("IAR").

An additional notice in this letter describes the new requirement for new IARs registering with the Division to submit an executed Criminal Offender Record Information ("CORI") acknowledgement form to the division as a part of the application process.


Here are the details:

  • IARs submitting a new registration application on or after January 1, 2014 will need to provide the CORI form with their application.
  • This requirement does not apply to IARs renewing their existing MA-IAR registration for 2014.
  • The form can be downloaded in PDF and emailed to the Commonwealth's dedicated email address.
  • Failure to provide the CORI form will result in your IAR application being incomplete.
  • The CORI form requirement applies to all new IAR applications, regardless of the RIA's form of registration (state or federal).

A copy of the letter can be found here:

Below is the CORI-related text from the letter mailed by the Division.

The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Securities Division is registered under the provisions of MASS. GEN. LAWS c. 6, § 172 to receive and review Criminal Offender Record Information (“CORI”) for the purpose of screening current registrants and otherwise qualified prospective registrants.

Subsequent to January 1, 2014 and pursuant to a change in Massachusetts Regulations at 950 MASS. CODE REGS. 12.205(2)(d)(1), each applicant for registration as an investment adviser representative in Massachusetts will be required to submit an executed CORI acknowledgement form to the Division as part of the application procedure.

The CORI acknowledgement form will be made available in fillable .pdf format on the Division’s website at the URL and is a required component of a complete application. The completed and executed CORI acknowledgement form shall be filed electronically with the Division via e-mail submission to the address

An application for investment adviser representative registration will not be deemed complete and processed until the CORI acknowledgement form has been received by the Division. This requirement applies to all investment adviser representatives applying for registration in Massachusetts, irrespective of whether they are associated with state or federally registered investment advisers. This requirement shall not apply to applicants for annual renewal registration which have made their renewal filings timely with the Division.

Please contact us if you have any questions or issues.

Thank you.

The AdvisorAssist Team

Monday, December 9, 2013

Final Call for 2014 Fees!


If you have not paid your 2014 registration or notice filing fees, you will want to pay them today!

The registration of and its advisory persons expire on December 31st each year. To maintain the registration of and your Investment Advisor Representative(s), you must pay the required fee by December 13, 2013. The FINRA E-Bill system often takes up to 2 days or more to post a payment.

For Compliance clients of AdvisorAssist, we have been monitoring your accounts. If you have completed the action and have not informed, us, please click the link in the notification email. This automatically updates our systems to help us manage this process.

As always, we are here to answer any questions that may arise. Please call us at (617) 800-0388 or email us at if you have any questions.

Best regards,

AdvisorAssist Team
AdvisorAssist RIA Compliance Services
Advisor Support - 617.800.0388, Option 2

Friday, December 6, 2013

California to raise IAR Fees

California increases IAR fees

California has increased its IAR fees from a one-time fee of $25 per IAR to an annual fee of $25.

Due to the timing of the implementation of this law, the California fee will be paid in January 2014. The full text of the notice is below:


November 22, 2013

Dear licensee,

This letter is to inform you that the California Legislature recently passed Senate Bill (“SB”) 538, authorizing the Department of Business Oversight (“Department”) to charge $25 in renewal fees annually for each registered Broker-Dealer Agent (“Agent”) and each registered Investment Adviser Representative (“IAR”). California is the second-to-last state to adopt a renewal fee and the proposed fee will be one of the lowest in the nation. Individuals who are dually registered will be assessed separately for each registration.

Because SB 538 becomes effective on January 1, 2014, the 2014 Agent and IAR renewal fee cannot be assessed through the CRD/IARD Renewal Program. Therefore, for the first renewal fee only, a supplementary assessment will occur in January 2014. The Department will send an invoice to each firm stating the number of Agents and/or IARs and the total amount to be remitted to the Department. The Department will use the December 31, 2013, Regulator Renewal Report generated by CRD/IARD to determine the number of Agents and/or IARs registered with your firm. The payments may be remitted via your CRD/IARD account or sent directly to the Department via check. Additional information regarding your payment will be provided with your invoice.

If your firm intends to reduce the number of individuals registered to conduct business in California as a way to reduce your renewal fee obligation, you will need to file a Form U5. The U5 can be dated on or prior to the date of filing or postdated to December 31, 2013 to permit registered activity to continue through the end of the year. Please note that web CRD will not be available on December 25, 2013, and from December 27, 2013 through January 1, 2014. The last day to file a Form U5 will be December 26, 2013.

Future annual renewals will be made through the annual renewal process handled in December by CRD/IARD.

Should you have any questions please contact the Department at (866) 275-2677.

Jan Lynn Owen
Department of Business Oversight

Friday, November 22, 2013

California mandates dedicated email

On November 22, 2013, the California Department of Business Oversight ("DBO") issued an order to all advisors registered in California requiring a dedicated email address for communications with the Advisor.

By January 4, 2014, all advisory firms registered with the State of California must comply.

Here are the details

  • Email must be dedicated to compliance matters and cannot be used publicly. It can be an address of your choosing.
  • Email must be monitored daily. While we don't expect that they will communicate with you daily, they want to ensure timeline receipt and follow-up.
  • Account must be established to allow attachments.
  • Spam settings must be modified to allow emails from the state's domains ("" or "")

After configuring the account, you must complete an online form with the state at The DBO has mailed or email you a username and password.

The full text of the Order is available on the DBO website at

Please contact us if you have any questions or issues.

Thank you.

The AdvisorAssist Team

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

REMINDER: 2014 Annual Registration Fees


If you have not paid your 2014 registration or notice filing fees, keep reading!

The registration of and its advisory persons expire on December 31st each year. To maintain the registration of and your Investment Advisor Representative(s), you must pay the required fee by December 13, 2013.

You may have received an email from FINRA that the FINRA-managed systems were updated this past weekend with the 2014 Preliminary Renewal Statements. For ongoing compliance clients, AdvisorAssist has also reviewed your account and provided instructions for next steps.

As always, we are here to answer any questions that may arise. Please call us at (617) 800-0388 or email us at if you have any questions.

Best regards,

AdvisorAssist Team
AdvisorAssist RIA Compliance Services
Advisor Support - 617.800.0388, Option 2

Massachusetts lists deficiencies in "Switch Adviser" exams

In the wake of Dodd-Frank, the Massachusetts Securities Division added approximately 140 advisors that did not meet the asset requirements of the new SEC regulations.

The MA Securities Division has visited approximately half of these advisors through October 2013 and plans to visit all of them soon. Of the ~140 advisors, ~100 have a principal place of business in Massachusetts, so they have conducted exams of ~50 of these firms.

The MA Securities Division has noted numerous deficiencies from books and records to disclosures and of course custody. As the Maddoff fraud unveiled weaknesses in regulatory reviews, the MA Securities Division pointed out that only 1 of 102 advisors had a previous custody exam by the SEC. Below is a list of these deficiencies.

Some details on these deficiencies (while not noted in the report), include:

  • ADV disclosures not properly reflecting state requirements.

  • ADV not accurately reflecting custody requirements for advisors that deduct fees. In addition to the SEC safeguards, a most state advisors are subject to additional rules to avoid custody. An advisor must provide the client with an invoice (or similar report) that provides the calculation methodology used to derive the advisors fee. This must be sent out promptly after deducting any fees from the client's account(s) and include: (i) the period covered; (ii) the market value used in the calculation; (iii) the rate (annual/quarterly or monthly); and (iv) the amount deducted.

  • Client agreements that do not meet state requirements and do not reflect custody clauses (as noted above).
  • Custody. Many advisors had not updated practices and disclosures for new custody rules.

  • Conflicts of Interest. ADV and related disclosures not adequately reflecting all conflicts.

  • Books and Records. The largest volume of deficiencies. While MA follows the SEC rules (Rule 204-2 of the Advisers Act), advisors are still struggling with books and records.
  • Financials. Yes they care about your internal books and records and financial health!

There are many other deficiencies noted. A compilation of deficiencies from numerous states was published by NASAA >>

Here is a link to the state report >>>

Monday, November 11, 2013

FINRA - Preliminary Renewal Statements (2014)

Dear Advisor:

The registration of and its advisory persons expire on December 31st each year. To maintain the registration of and your Investment Advisor Representative(s), you must pay the required fee by December 13, 2013.

You may have received an email from FINRA that the FINRA-managed systems were updated this past weekend with the 2014 Preliminary Renewal Statements. AdvisorAssist is reviewing these statements this week and will send you instructions for funding this week.

As always, we are here to answer any questions that may arise. Please call us at (617) 800-0388 or email us at if you have any questions.

Best regards,

AdvisorAssist Team
AdvisorAssist RIA Compliance Services
Advisor Support - 617.800.0388, Option 2

Monday, November 4, 2013

FINRA Bank Change

FINRA is changing the way they handle payments made to their bank and E-Bill system. Please see the FINRA notice below.

In February 2014, FINRA will switch its banking services to a new bank. As part of this transition, FINRA will simplify the methods firms use to make payments to us. Since many firms will need to make changes to their accounting processes, we want to provide an overview of these changes.

First, FINRA will consolidate all check payment addresses, with the exception of GASB payments, into a single payment address. This change will allow for a more efficient check payment and deposit process. You will receive the new address for check payments, wiring instructions and W-9 information in future communications.

Second, to ensure your firm's payments are applied to the correct invoice in a timely manner, firms must include invoice numbers on all check remittances, and include it as the reference number on ACH and wire payments. Note: If a firm submits a payment without an invoice number, FINRA will apply the funds to the firm's FINRA Flex-Funding account, which is accessible via E-Bill. Someone at your firm must then transfer the funds to the appropriate invoice in order for the invoice to be closed.

As a reminder, firms can view and pay invoices through E-Bill, FINRA's electronic billing system.

If you have any questions, please contact us by completing a support request or emailing us at

Thank you,
The AdvisorAssist Team

Friday, November 1, 2013

2013 NASAA Enforcement Report has been issued

The 2013 NASAA Enforcement Report has been released to the public.

The report summarized the investigations, enforcement statistics, and investor relief from the 2012 review activities.. The most notable is the focus on Regulation D filings, including private deals, real estate, oil & gas and others. Unregistered securities and side deals are among the top issues.

Here's a link to the full report >>>!.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

FINRA has launched E-Bill. Action Required!

FINRA recently implemented a new payment system -- the E-Bill System. This system replaces the retired E-Pay system (formerly at

What do I need to do?

Every advisory firm must obtain access to this system in order to fund their accounts for state and other filing fees. To configure your E-Bill settings,your firm's Super Account Administrator (SAA) will have to login to and enable E-Bill access for the SAA and any alternate administrators that should have access.

Here are the steps:

  1. Login to
  2. Once you have logged into the FINRA system, click the User Administration tab on the top menu.
  3. Search for the SAA's username (hint, if you only have a few users, just click search button and all will render).
  4. Click the link associated with the account you wish to configure which will bring you to the Applications Privileges page.
  5. On the left side menu, click the Edit link.
  6. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page where you will see E-Bill, click Select All to enable system rights and click Save.

You now have access to the FINRA E-Bill system!

Repeat these steps for any alternate administrators on your account. For instance, enable the AdvisorAssist account if you would like us to be able to fund your account in your have a timing issue and need our help.

If you have any questions, please email us at For reference, we have copied a sample communication from FINRA below.

Thank you.
The AdvisorAssist Team


From: FINRA (sent via email)

As a reminder, effective October 28, 2013, FINRA will enhance the E-Bill system to allow entitled users to transfer/reallocate funds from their FINRA Flex-Funding Account (formerly known as the CRD/IARD daily account) to pay FINRA invoices. This enhancement will provide a central place for entitled users to view and pay FINRA invoices, and fund and transfer funds from the FINRA Flex-Funding Account. Your firm's ability to submit payment via wires or checks will not be affected by this enhancement.

FINRA will add a new E-Bill entitlement for Reallocation from the FINRA Flex-Funding Account, which will be available to Super Account Administrators on October 28. Access to E-Bill functionality for both invoices and the FINRA Flex-Funding Account will be completely under your firm's control.

Please click the link below to confirm your access to E-Bill. If you do not have access, information regarding the E-Bill system is available at

If you have questions, please contact the FINRA Call Center at (240) 386-4848.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Minnesota - IARs now required to register

Effective August 1, 2013, all persons seeking to provide fee-based advice in Minnesota for an RIA must register as investment advisor representatives ("IARs") and pass required exams.

Minnesota was one of the last remaining states that did not formally register IARs. Effective 8/1/13 they are now conforming to the uniform rules of most states.

What is required? If your firm is subject to registration in Minnesota, your IARs will need to be properly registered as well. IARs will be required to pass a Series 65 or 66 exam or have an acceptable exemption (CFA, CFP, ChFC, PFS, or CIC designation in good standing.

When must one register? The new rule is effective 8/1/13, however the FINRA CRD system is being coded to accept these new requirements for Minnesota. It may take until the end of October for the systems to be updated.

What action does my firm take? Please inform us at if you have a place of business in Minnesota or have more than 5 clients in Minnesota. We will help you determine the need for particular filings. Existing RIAs will need to amend the U4s for IARs conducting business in Minnesota to pay the state fees.

If you have any questions regarding this new requirement, please contact us at or submit a request through your Advisor Portal.

Notice from the Minnesota Department of Commerce - August 6, 2013

During the last legislative session, a bill was passed and signed into law which, among other provisions, requires the registration of Investment Advisor Representatives. This new requirement is consistent with the registration process currently in existence in 47 other states. You can review the legislation on our website at Chapter 106 S--H.F. No. 1243.

The new law has an effective date of August 1, 2013. A number of questions have arisen as a result of this legislation. Investment advisers and their representatives have requested to know whether the Department intends to enforce the testing provision prior to registration, given the short timeframe; whether the Department intends to accept professional designations in lieu of successfully passing an examination; and whether the Department would adopt a waiver or “grandfathering” policy, for Investment Advisor Representatives who have not taken the required tests in recent years and do not have a disciplinary history. The Department has received dozens of comments and has held numerous meetings with interested parties. This update is to advise you of the Department’s current position on these issues and to provide you with updated information.

The registration process will involve using the IARD system. We have now been advised by FINRA that the system will not be ready to accept new Investment Advisor Representative registrations until at least the last week of October, 2013. Therefore, the August 1st date must be extended, as a logistical matter outside the control of the Department and the control of Investment Advisor Representatives. We anticipate that once the IARD system is in place to accept registrations, a reasonable period of time to register will be allowed.

Professional Designations: Acceptance of professional designations, the CFP, CHFC, CFA, PFS and CIC, in lieu of taking a Series 65 examination or both a Series 7 and Series 66 examination is permitted in other states in place of examinations. The Department intends to follow the same approach.

Registrations in Other States: The Department’s current position is that Investment Advisor Representatives who currently are registered in other states and who have passed the required tests will be automatically registered.

New IARs: The Department’s current position is that new Investment Advisor Representatives should be required to take and pass either the Series 65 examination or both the Series 7 and Series 66 examination as a condition of registration.

The question of a deadline for passing the examination and “grandfathering” remains. The Department is currently considering providing “restricted approval” subject to taking and passing the examination(s) within a certain timeframe. We are also considering a waiver in appropriate circumstances. We have not finalized our position on these remaining issues. We would be interested in any further comments you might have in that regard. Please send any comments to the following email address

Monday, July 22, 2013

FINRA IARD & CRD Security Updates

This is an update for our clients who use FINRA Entitlement tools, including IARD and CRD: Effective Saturday July 20, 2013 you are now required to select three security questions and they will be used during your login process. To avoid interruption of using the FINRA website it is recommended that you save these security questions and answers to your files.

FINRA has implemented a new login security feature for users of FINRA Entitlement applications/systems including IARD and CRD. Effective July 20, 2013, the first time you log onto IARD/CRD, you will be required to select three security questions and provide a response to each question. On subsequent logins, you may be asked to provide the responses to your selected security questions. See the frequently asked questions for details on how to complete the new security process. (

This new security process will impact all user accounts, including Super Account Administrators, Account Administrators and regular users (including public accounts).

After your initial login and configuration of the three security questions, subsequent logins to the system will trigger one of the three questions being asked if any of the conditions occur:
  1. During log in, if you did not check the box “Remember this computer (Choose this option only if this is your personal computer and you trust this device/computer).”
  2. You log in from a different computer or use a different browser.
  3. The system detects a change in how you typically interact with the application.
  4. A year has passed since you have been presented with a security question.
  5. Your computer’s cookies were deleted since your last login.

We recommend saving your security questions and answers to your files, however, if you get locked out of your account you should first contact your Super Account Administrator (SAA) or Account Administrator (AA) to unlock your account. If your account is locked because of multiple incorrect responses to your security questions, your SAA/AA will unlock your account and require you to reset your security questions. If you are an SAA and your own account is locked, or if you do not have an SAA or AA to go to for assistance, contact the FINRA Gateway Call Center at 301-869-6699 and they will assist your request.

Should you have any difficulty working through the new security enhancements please don't hesitate to contact AdvisorAssist Support.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

NASAA Increases Series 65 and 66 Exam Fees

Effective June 1, 2013, the enrollment fees for the Series 63, 65, and 66 examinations will increase. Candidates enrolling for the Series 63, 65, or 66 on or after June 1, 2013, will be charged the following:

Examination Enrollment Fee
Series 65 $155 (from $135)
Series 66 $145 (from $128)

If you have any questions on the examinations requirements, please email us at

Thursday, April 25, 2013

FINRA E-Pay Account is changing

IARD System will soon replace FINRA E-Pay

For those of you that share my discontent with the FINRA systems, please read on...

FINRA recently implemented a new payment hub inside the IARD system. Super Account Administrators (and those granted access by the SAA) will soon be able to make payments in the system at This is the same access point to manage the user access for your IARD/CRD accounts, including the annual SAA Certification.

The E-Pay system remains open through May 17, 2013 for payments into the Daily Account. We will continue to update you as they complete this upgrade.

Below is the text you may have received from FINRA:

As the Super Account Administrator for your investment adviser firm, you should be aware of these changes to your firm's CRD/IARD Daily Account: (1) the account has a new name, the FINRA Flex-Funding Account; and (2) the method for making electronic (ACH) payments to fund your firm's account is also changing. FINRA's E-Bill system is now available to fund your firm's Flex-Funding Account (CRD/IARD Daily Account). The E-Bill system will soon become the only means for making ACH payments (check and wire payments will still be accepted) to fund your firm's Flex-Funding Account (CRD/IARD Daily Account). As the SAA, you have the ability to entitle yourself as a user to the new application, update existing accounts and/or create new accounts with this new application. Users will be required to provide bank account information the first time they use E-Bill to submit ACH payments.

Firms may continue to use the existing electronic payment application link to Web CRD/IARD E-Pay until June 17, 2013, at which time it will be replaced by a link to E-Bill in Web CRD/IARD. In preparation and to ensure your firm's continuous ability to make electronic payments, FINRA recommends you use this period to notify users who are responsible for funding your firm's CRD/IARD Daily Account to allow them to transition from using Web CRD/IARD E-Pay to E-Bill's FINRA Flex-Funding Account.

If you have questions regarding this email, please contact the IARD Call Center at (240) 386-4848 or send an email to Thank you.

REMINDER - Brochure Delivery (4/30/13 Deadline!)

Don't forget to DELIVER your ADV2A ("Disclosure Brochure") and the ADV2B ("Brochure Supplements")

RIAs must deliver to all clients their disclosure brochure (ADV2A) and the brochure supplements for each advisory person providing advice to the client.

DEADLINE: 120 days following the fiscal year end. If you have a December fiscal year end, the deadline is April 30, 2013.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NJ Securities Division - 2013 Written Examination

It's that time again. The New Jersey Bureau of Securities recently released its annual investment adviser examination questionnaire.

The questionnaire must be completed and submitted by May 9, 2013.

New this year, the 2013 NJ Questionnaire must be submitted electronically through the division's website. No mailed or emailed submissions will be accepted and will be considered deficient.

Instructions and a link to the examination can be found here: 2013 New Jersey Adviser Examination Instructions.

NOTE: Advisers are cautioned that they will be unable to save modified web forms, and are therefore urged to first print and complete by hand a copy of the sample examination found in Addendum A of the instructions. Documents that must be attached to the application should likewise be prepared in advance.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Extended ADV Filing Deadline - April 1, 2013

Annual ADV Filing - Due April 1st!

If you have yet to file your annual update to your ADV 1 and 2, you still have time.

An RIA is required to file its annual amendment to Form ADV1 and ADV2 (the "Disclosure Brochure") and ensure all related documents and disclosures are up to date. Each year the advisors are required to complete these updates through the IARD filing system within 90 days following fiscal year end. For those December 31 year end firms, the deadline would be March 31st. As March 31st falls on a Sunday and a Holiday, with the loss of Friday and Saturday as filing days, the SEC issued a notice (see below) that extends the ADV filing deadline to Monday, April 1, 2013.

The SEC notice is below:

Notice to Form ADV Filers

Filers should be aware of the following:

Rule 204-1 under the Advisers Act requires advisers to file an "Annual Updating Amendment" to Form ADV with the Commission within 90 days after their firm's fiscal year end. Many advisers have a December 31 fiscal year end, which means that they would have to file their annual amendment by March 31, 2013. This year, March 31 falls on a Sunday. In addition, Friday, March 29, 2013 is a holiday for FINRA (the entity that runs the IARD system). The IARD system therefore is closed both March 29 and March 31, 2013.

Rule 0-4 under the Advisers Act provides that fillings required to be made through the IARD on a day that the IARD is closed will be considered timely filed with the Commission if filed through the IARD no later than the following business day. (See Title 17: Commodity and Securities Exchanges Part 275 - Rules and Regulations, Investment Advisers Act of 1940) Therefore, advisers with a December 31 fiscal year end may file their Annual Updating Amendments no later than Monday, April 1, 2013.

If you have any questions about the Form ADV deadlines, please contact:

The Office of Chief Counsel / Public Inquiry

Phone: (202) 551-6865

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top 5 Annual Amendment Questions

We have compiled the following list of common questions to help you complete your 2013 Annual ADV Amendment Worksheet. Please be sure to get these to us as soon as possible so we can ensure that yours is completed prior to the deadline.

  1. How do I determine our "regulatory assets under management?" The key question to ask is, "Des my firm provide continuous and regular supervisory or management services for the client's account?" To help you with this calculation, we have posted a "primer" on our blog. Click here to take a look.
  2. How should I define a "client" when I am filling in the "client by state" section? A "client" is any natural person, along with their children (minors) and relatives or spouse with same principal residence. So, if you have a couple with two individual accounts and one UGMA, this is one client. To take it a few steps further...
    • If you manage accounts for a married couple and consider both of their interests in making any investment decisions, they are generally considered one client. You should have both spouses as a party to your client agreement.
    • If you also advise a trust for them where they are the sole beneficiaries, still one client. But if they have a trust with one beneficiary outside the family, that's two clients.
    • If you also manage a corporate account that is wholly-owned by them, still one client. But if that corporate account had external shareholders (outside the family), count this as a corporation.
  3. Should I be listing all of our Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs) in every state in which we do business? In most instances, you only have to include an IAR in a particular state when they are either soliciting new business or providing advisory services to a client in that state. However:
    • The IAR is managing more than 5 clients in that state.
    • The IAR is located in that state.
    • State regulations require that anyone servicing client accounts that exceed the de minimis levels register in that state.
    • State regulations require that the supervisory personnel register in that state, even if they do not service clients there personally.
    • The more practical approach is to include all IARs in all states where you have clients. This way, you have full flexibility with respect to which IARs can serve clients in each state. This becomes a workflow, client servicing and cost consideration.
  4. How do I determine if a client should be counted as an "individual" or a "high net worth individual"? According to the North American Securities Administrators Association ("NASAA"), a “high net worth individual” is an individual with at least $750,000 managed by an adviser, or whose net worth exceeds $1,500,000. The net worth of an individual may include assets held jointly with his or her spouse.
  5. What other areas of the ADV1 and 2 must be reviewed and updated? There are several other areas of the ADV that must be reviewed and updated:
    • Material Changes. Item 2 of the ADV requires that all material changes since the last filing and distribution be articulated so that clients can easily find any changes that pertain to them.
    • Business practices. Any changes to the business model and approach must be updated (i.e., services, fees, types of investments, methodologies, etc.)
    • Financial Planning. The regulators also want to know the value of securities and non-securities investments that may be advised upon outside and assets under management structure.
    • Consistency. ADV1, ADV2A, ADV2B and your agreements, websites, marketing pieces and other materials must be in sync. Processes and approaches tend to evolve over time. You must ensure your disclosures evolve too!
    • Contact Information. Did you change your office location, mailing address, phone, fax, company email? Did you hire a CCO or shift responsibilities? (This is a common deficiency.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reminder - Annual Renewals

Annual ADV Update Deadline coming soon.

Each registered investment advisor is required to update their ADV1 and ADV2 ("Disclosure Brochure") each year, regardless of whether they have material changes.

AdvisorAssist distributed an email with an online questionnaire to assist in completing this required task.

Your prompt attention to this requirement is appreciated to ensure we can provide a proper review of your materials.

If you have any questions on these requirements, please email us at

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Check out your 2013 Compliance Calendar

Under the Calendar tab in your portal, you will see your 2013 Compliance Calendar. This resource lays out the most important compliance activities that will come up during the course of the year. To use the calendar, you may either view it through your portal or download it via the XML, iCal or HTML buttons at the right of the page.
For Outlook users, here is a link that shows you how to download into your Outlook calendar.
For users of other calendaring tools, please consult the Help section of your software by searching for topics like "Upload external calendar" or "Upload XML or iCal calendar."
This year we have categorized the items on the calendar under the following topics:
Regulatory Deadlines ("DEADLINE"): Regulatory deadlines that advisors must meet if the specific activity applies to their firm. (Some dates may be subject to change.)
Compliance Tasks ("TASKS"): Periodic compliance tasks that are required activities and/or industry best practices.
Compliance Testing ("TESTING"): Topic-based compliance testing procedures to ensure that your compliance program is accurate and effective. Periodic review of your compliance program is a regulatory requirement. These reminders align with the risk assessment tools found on the Compliance Testing page of your portal.
FINRA/IARD Events ("FINRA"): Announced dates from FINRA that may require action on your behalf or may impact your ability to access your public filings on their IARD/CRD systems. (Dates may be subject to change.)
Reminders ("REMINDERS"): Calender entries to remind you of certain upcoming deadlines.
We hope that you find this calendar useful as you move through a year in the life of compliance for your firm. If you have any questions about this or any other section of your portal, please let us know by submitting support request under your Compliance Activities tab. We'll be sure to get back to you with assistance.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Advisor Portal Updates This Weekend

This weekend we will be making a number of updates and enhancements to your Advisor Portal. When we are doing so, these updates will generate alerts that will be sent to your email inbox.

Please ignore these since there is no action to be taken on your behalf.

If you do not receive these alerts, this most likely means that you have not yet "Subscribed to Site Changes." If this is the case, please do so (Monday would be best!) by:

1)  Accessing your Advisor Portal

2) Clicking the "MORE" button at the top right of your portal

3) Selecting "Subscribe to site changes" (as opposed to "page changes")

This will alert you when AdvisorAssist uploads new documents or add any comments to your portal going forward.

Apologies for any inconveniences this may cause.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Annual Entitlement Certification Begins Jan. 14, 2013

Attention Advisors!

You should have received an email today from FINRA for the Annual FINRA Entitlement User Accounts Certification.

The purpose of this email is to ensure that each firm has accurate information for the IARD and CRD systems. The process is quick and simple (if you have your account access handy). The SAA ("Super Account Administrator") for your firm must log into your FINRA account at

Once you login, you will see this screen below. Click the link

Then follow the prompts. If your user information is correct, scroll to the certification (example below) and complete the form.

If you have trouble logging into your account or need to make changes to Administrators, give us a call at 617-800-0388 or email

Below is the text of the FINRA Communication

As you may be aware, one of your responsibilities as your firm's Super Account Administrator (SAA) is to complete the annual FINRA Entitlement User Accounts Certification Process. This certification process—which for 2013 begins Jan. 14 and ends Feb. 13—requires a review of your firm's user accounts and appropriate action to ensure that, on your organization's behalf:

  • each user has a continuing need to access application(s) provided by FINRA;
  • users have only the application privileges they need to perform current job responsibilities; and/
  • only users who require access to sensitive data (e.g., criminal history record information, Social Security or tax identification numbers, dates of birth) have access to this type of data.

If you would like to expedite the process and begin reviewing your firm's individual user accounts prior to Jan. 14, you can do so at any time using the (Account Management Application) (refer to FINRA's certification process at page for more information).

Please Note: While you can conduct your review prior to Jan. 14, you will not be able to access the User Account Certification link to complete your firm's certification until you receive an email on Jan. 14 announcing that the certification period has begun. If you have additional questions, please review the Entitlement User Accounts Certification Process Quick Reference Guide and the FINRA Entitlement Program Frequently Asked Questions, or contact the FINRA Call Center:

  • Broker-Dealer Firms – (301) 869-6699
  • Investment Adviser Firms – (240) 386-4848

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Massachusetts: Investment Advisory Contracts Survey

Attention: Massachusetts State-Registered RIAs

The Massachusetts Security Division issued a survey regarding the content of your investment advisory agreements on January 2, 2013. The due date for the survey is Friday, January 18, 2013. Here's a copy of the survey --

The Securities Division requests that the completed survey by mailed to their office or emailed to We suggest email so you have a copy with your stored records.

While this survey is not mandatory, AdvisorAssist does suggest that you complete this survey.

Please post a copy of the complete draft survey to your Advisor Portal or email to If you have any questions, please indicate on the posting or email.

Thank you.

The AdvisorAssist Team

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

ADV Amendment Time!

Happy New Year

As we start into 2013, one of the first tasks is to review, file an amendment and distribute your ADV2 ("Disclosure Brochure") to Clients.

AdvisorAssist distributed its annual questionnaire via email on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

If you did not receive an email or have questions, please email us at

Thank you.

The AdvisorAssist Team