Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fiduciary Duty

I've never met the people whom NASAA pays to write the Series 65, 66, and 63 questions, but I gather they don't get out much. Many of the situations you encounter in their little test questions are about as likely to happen in the real world as a Cubs-Sox World Series.

Let's look at something that is just weird and trivial enough to make it onto your exam:

An investment adviser purchased ABC 4.5% callable debentures for the omnibus trading account last May, allocating the bonds to various client accounts. Now in April the adviser receives warrants to purchase ABC common stock as a bonus for purchasing the debentures. If the adviser places the warrants in his own account
A. he has complied with prudent investor standards, as warrants are unsuitable for bond investors
B. he has breached his fiduciary duty to his clients
C. he has engaged in standard practice for omnibus trading accounts

D. the warrants are not subject to registration requirements

EXPLANATION: if the warrants were part of the offer of the bonds, I don't see why the adviser thinks he gets to keep them. And, if he does keep them, he's putting his interests ahead of his clients, which is a breach of fiduciary duty.

Yeah, so when you get yourself licensed as an IAR or RIA, please remember not to keep all them-there warrants that issuers send your way. And, for now, be ready for a test question like this one, or even goofier.

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