12b-1 fees — A Brand New Twist

Under a new self-reporting initiative just announced by the SEC staff, the SEC’s Enforcement Division will recommend “standardized, favorable settlement terms” to investment advisers that self-report that they failed to disclose conflicts of interest associated with the receipt of 12b-1 fees.  This is the latest effort by the SEC to crack–down on inadequate disclosure of adviser receipt of 12b-1 fees in connection with advisory accounts where a lower -cost share class of the same mutual fund was available for the advisory clients. The SEC States that among other things, the Division will recommend settlements that will require the adviser to “disgorge its ill-gotten gains and pay those amounts to harmed clients. ”  The plus:  no civil monetary penalty. Investment advisers must notify the Division of Enforcement of their intent to self-report no later than June 12, 2018.

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