SEC extends e-service to financial advisers
- By Preeti Vasishtha
- Jun 12, 2002
The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a system that lets investment advisers nationwide register online.
The Investment Adviser Registration Depository lets 7,500 companies register electronically and pay fees to the commission and 49 states, said Bob Plaze, associate director of SEC's Investment Management Division.
The commission regulates investment advisers who handle assets of more than $25 million, and states manage those who do not meet the threshold.
Advisers register annually using Form ADV.
Companies have begun registering investment advisers with securities authorities online through IARD.
Because of the low number of registrations received from Wyoming, it is the only state that is not included in the system, Plaze said.
Before the system was launched, registration required a lot of paperwork. When companies had to register with more than one state, they mailed forms and checks to each of them.
'But now, with the click of a mouse, you can do all of this online,' Plaze said.
To use the system, a company identifies a user to be its point of contact with SEC. The user fills out a request form for a password that provides access to the forms online, said Jennifer McHugh, a project coordinator. After the form is submitted, the system verifies that all the questions have been answered. Plaze said one of the biggest problems with paper forms was that more than 25 percent of them were returned to advisers because they were incomplete.
The system also checks to see if a company's account handles assets of more than $25 million to determine whether it should register with the commission or with one or more states.To and fro
Once a form is submitted, SEC and the appropriate states receive notice of a new registration via the Web. The recipients review the filings and either register the company or decline the application. If a company is registered, its status is updated in SEC's public database.
Paper records had been saved on microfiche.
Last year, NASD Regulation Inc., a subsidiary of the National Association of Securities Dealers that oversees the activities of 5,400 securities businesses, won the contract to develop and operate the system. SEC has spent $12 million on its development.
The system uses eight Dell PowerEdge 6350 servers running Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Data is stored in an Oracle8i database. The commission runs a backup of the system on a Sun Microsystems Ultra Enterprise 10000 server.
Users need a PC running at least Windows 9x and either a Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or Netscape Navigator 4.06 browser.
On the IARD Web site, at www.iard.com
, users can find information about investment advisers who are registered with SEC or a state, or who registered in the last two years.
Federal agencies such as the Labor and Justice departments and the FBI have access to more detailed records.Adviser revolution
David Tittsworth, executive director at Investment Counsel Association of America, a Washington nonprofit that represents 300 federally registered investment advisers, said the system is 'a revolutionary development' for its users.
Most advisers have been able to figure out how to use the system without problems and the site helps in finding 'a fair amount of information' about the companies, and range and type of employees from Form ADV, he said.
'Advisers can find out about each other and the competition, and SEC and policy makers can also use it to get information,' Tittsworth said.
But he said the system needs a better search engine that can look for companies by geographic area, not just by name.