SEC Staff Issues Guidance and Investor Bulletin on Robo-Advisers
On February 23, 2017 the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) published information and guidance concerning robo-advisers for investors and the financial services industry on the fast-growing use of robo-advisers, which are registered investment advisers that use computer algorithms to provide investment advisory services online with often limited human interaction.Because of the unique issues raised by robo-advisers, the Commission’s Division of Investment Management issued guidance for investment advisers with suggestions on meeting disclosure, suitability and compliance obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
A second publication, an Investor Bulletin issued by the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, provides individual investors with information they may need to make informed decisions if they consider using robo-advisers.
The Investor Bulletin describes a number of issues investors should consider, including:
- The level of human interaction important to the investor
- The information the robo-adviser uses in formulating recommendations
- The robo-adviser’s approach to investing
- The fees and charges involved
“As technology continues to improve and make profound changes to the financial services industry, it’s important for regulators to assess its impact on U.S. markets and give thoughtful guidance to market participants,” said SEC Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar. “ This information is designed to help investors tap into the opportunities that fintech innovation can provide while ensuring fairness and investor protection.”
Investors can use the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) database, which is available on Investor.gov, to research the background, including registration or license status and disciplinary history, of any individual or firm recommending an investment, including robo-advisers, which are typically registered as investment advisers with either the SEC or one or more state securities authorities.
Robo-advisers, as registered investment advisers, are subject to the substantive and fiduciary obligations of the Advisers Act. The Guidance Update notes that there may be a variety of means for a robo-adviser to meet its obligations to clients under the Advisers Act, and that not all of the issues addressed in the Guidance Update will be applicable to every robo-adviser.
For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956 or by email at [email protected]. This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal and compliance advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.
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