True investment advisers have fiduciary obligations that they owe to their clients. As such, they have an obligation to make full and fair disclosure to clients and prospective clients concerning their material conflicts of interest, including conflicts arising from financial incentives, and to act consistently with those disclosures. This principle is reflected in Form ADV, which reminds advisers of their general obligation to fully disclose material facts relating to their advisory business and specifically requires disclosure concerning the compensation and fees that advisers and their supervised persons receive, including from asset-based charges and service fees.
The chance of a conflict of interest arising increases based upon the number of rolls that a professional assumes in dealing with a client. This is especially true for attorneys. Some attorneys attempt to provide estate and tax planning advice to clients and then offer investments to those clients through broker/dealer or investment advisory firms with which they are associated. When does the attorney’s legal advice end and his investment activities commence? This is a question that is difficult to answer. Every factual situation will be different. If you have any questions concerning an investment that you have made based upon the recommendation of your attorney/advisor, please feel free to contact us.