Inappropriate Advice or Practices from Investment Advisers
Investment advisers are licensed to give specific investment advice and owe their clients a fiduciary duty. The regulatory environment for investment advisers is shifting, in part due to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme which has led to increased scrutiny of investment advisors from both state regulators and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act laid the groundwork for a major regulatory change, transferring thousands of mid-sized investment advisers to primary supervision by state regulators, rather than the SEC.
State enforcement actions involving investment advisors have increased: in 2011, state actions against investment adviser firms nearly doubled over the previous year, and focused both on compliance in the firms’ general business practices and advice to clients. As the states implement regular examination schedules and analyze investment advisers that have not been audited in many years, more problems are likely to be discovered. The increased frequency of exams will benefit investors, as state regulators will work to ensure that investors have access to investment advisers who meet their fiduciary duty and cure discovered deficiencies.