Disclosure Basics

Beyond lack of disclosures, beyond incomplete disclosures and even beyond failure to disclose conflicts of interest, the most problematic disclosure issue is when there are discrepancies between an adviser’s disclosure documents. Examiners take an especially harsh view of investment advisers that fail to reconcile their disclosure documents. In the words of one examiner, the presence of conflicting disclosure documents is evidence that an adviser lacks a commitment to the disclosure process. Examiners will not afford an adviser the benefit of the doubt when confronted with such an abject disregard for their disclosure obligations. Therefore, we suggest that at a minimum, every adviser pull out Parts 1 and 2A of their Form ADV and their advisory contract and make sure it all adds up. If you report in Part 1 that you have investment or brokerage discretion, your Part 2A better report the same thing.