• SEC Launches Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Website
  • May 6, 2003
  • Law Firm: Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP - San Francisco Office
  • On September 25, 2001, the SEC launched the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Website (IAPD)--- www.adviserinfo.sec.gov. Through this public website, anyone can access the investment adviser filings on Form ADV and related forms made by an adviser registered with the SEC or with any of several participating states.

    This is a major advance in the regulatory effort to make information about registered advisers readily available to the public. To view the information about an adviser, only the adviser's name or some approximation of it is necessary. Once an adviser has been identified, a visitor can scroll through its filings or go directly to certain sections of each form, such as disciplinary matters, which are highlighted in a menu. The site also provides a brief and basic primer for consumers on adviser regulation and registration, as well as links to other related sites such as those of the SEC and CRD.

    The SEC has promised that in the future the public also will be able to access information about a firm's individual investment advisers through this site, just as they can review information about not only brokerage firms but also individual brokers through the CRD system.

    Until now, information about registered advisers was available only from the paper files publicly available at the SEC and the states. It was difficult to obtain a complete copy of an adviser's latest ADV registration statement without knowing the exact date of the filing and of any subsequent amendments. This often involved costly and time-consuming record searches.

    The website is the second step in the SEC's effort to bring advisers online just as broker-dealers are through the CRD system. As a first step, earlier this year the SEC began requiring investment advisers to file electronically a portion of their registration statements and several other filings through the IARD system (Investment Adviser Registration Depository) operated by NASD Regulation. These are the electronic files now available to the public through the site. Several states also have mandated electronic filing through IARD of forms filed by state-registered advisers.

    Next steps will include SEC adoption of a new Part II of the Form ADV, which will be filed electronically. This portion of the registration contains important information about the adviser's products and practices. Currently, advisers continue to use the old paper version of Part II, which is only available to the public through requests to the SEC or the adviser. Of course, clients and prospective clients of the adviser continue to receive copies of this form as required by regulation.

    The launch of the website will facilitate review and comparison of information about firms by consumers, competitors, and the media. Although firms always have faced regulatory and financial risk for incomplete ADV disclosure, the website has increased the probability of being questioned about adequacy of disclosure.