We represent investment advisors and RIA investors in a wide variety of matters. Our services include performing legal and compliance due diligence for our clients’ acquisitions of RIAs. We work directly with the RIAs to conduct risk assessment reviews, annual compliance reviews, and compliance training. We also conduct internal investigations; represent RIAs during SEC and state examinations, investigations, and enforcement actions; and advise RIAs on regulatory and compliance matters.
In addition, we offer a full suite of transition-related services to advisors forming new RIAs, including advising on employment transition and risk mitigation issues; entity formation; Form ADV completion and filing; and drafting business agreements, advisory contracts, compliance manuals, and code of ethics documents.
We also represent broker-dealers, RIAs, and their advisors in litigation stemming from general commercial disputes, as well as litigation arising from advisor departures and recruitment. We have successfully litigated TROs in federal and state courts across the country, negotiated favorable settlements on our clients’ behalf, and defended advisors in arbitration proceedings brought before FINRA and other arbitration venues.
UBS’s and Morgan Stanley’s recent exit from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting may portend other financial services firms’ withdrawal going forward. If that happens, we predict an increase in litigation stemming from advisors’ departures from wirehouses; it will also impact wirehouse-to-wirehouse recruiting. Separately, the SEC has reallocated staff resources to increase the number of RIA examinations it conducts each year. In his September remarks to Congress, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton indicated that the SEC staff was on track to deliver a 30 percent increase in RIA examinations in the current fiscal year. We believe those increases will result in additional referrals to enforcement, and ultimately an increase in the number of regulatory actions – settled and litigated – against RIAs.