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SEC Will Provide Advertising Guidance


The SEC plans to issue the first in a series of legal bulletins on investment adviser advertising practices by Dec. 31.

The bulletins are expected to summarize various SEC pronouncements on requirements for advertising investment performance, said Douglas Scheidt, associate director in the SEC's division of investment management. The SEC staff also may expand on existing guidance about advertising practices in the bulletins, Scheidt said in a recent interview.

The SEC may issue the first bulletin as early as this fall, Scheidt said. The agency hopes to publish perhaps two bulletins annually in future years, Scheidt said. The SEC will post the bulletins on the agency's website and provide copies to trade organizations and computerized legal research services, he said.

Investment performance advertising and marketing have been a thorn in the side of the mutual fund and investment adviser industries since last year. The SEC and NASD Regulation have fined three fund companies or their affiliates since September for what the regulators alleged were inappropriate advertising practices.

Performance advertising also has been an issue for investment advisory firms during SEC inspections. SEC examiners "see lots of problems in investment adviser advertising," said Lori Richards, director of the SEC's office of compliance, inspections and examinations, at an SEC conference on investment adviser issues last month in Washington, D.C. Examiners see problems such as inadequate documentation to back up investment performance claims, Richards said.