Investment Advisory

  • Represented four advisors transitioning from a “wirehouse” to an independent registered investment advisor in a breach of contract and fiduciary duty action. We defeated a TRO after a full-day evidentiary hearing following expedited briefing and discovery.
  • Represented a leading international partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms. Conducted due diligence for the client’s acquisition of an RIA with $16.5 billion AUM.
  • Represented an investment advisor in an SEC investigation of conflicts of interest related to the firm’s recommendation of other registered investment advisors in conjunction with certain wrap fee programs.
  • Represented a senior executive of an RIA in an SEC investigation of the firm’s conversion of mutual fund share classes that charged 12b-1 fees in non-qualified advised accounts to share classes that did not charge 12b-1 fees. The matter was closed without any action against the senior executive.
  • Represented advisors in SEC and FINRA investigations of outside business activities which closed without any action against the advisors.
  • Represented team of advisors in successfully limiting the scope of a TRO that was issued ex parte.

Looking Forward

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.