Monday, November 19, 2012

Penny Wise?

A new financial advisory firm just retained us to review and revise their agreements BEFORE a regulator finds a problem. While I didn't ask, it sounds like they used a non-attorney group to create their registration documents and agreements, and are now looking for some additional advice.

Using a filing service to prepare boilerplate forms and agreements fine. In fact, we often send our smaller new clients to a third party service for the initial preparation of Form ADV and the related materials. Those firms can put together basic documents in a much less expensive manner than we can.

But we need to review those documents before they are used. If boilerplate were sufficient, there would be no need for filing of anything - every firm and practice would be the same, and the regulators would not need to know about the particulars of your business - everyone's business would be the same.

But advisory practices are not boilerplate, and each individual entity needs to have its ADV, its operating agreement, it codes and procedures, and its agreements with clients and vendors individually drafted. 

Unfortunately, too many firms and professionals do not take that next step and retain our firm, or someone like us, to review their agreements, preferring to wait until there is a problem before spending the money and being proactive in their own practices.

We have been representing financial professionals and firms for decades. A few hours of our time, reviewing and revising agreements and procedures can save a firm hundreds of thousands of dollars. A review and negotiation of an employment agreement can do the same for individual advisors.

Why aren't financial professionals and firms more proactive, like our new client? It doesn't make sense. If you need a consultation with us, send me an email - I won't charge you to read your email and respond.

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