Form ADV is the uniform form used by investment advisers to register with both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities authorities. The form consists of two parts. Part 1 requires information about the investment adviser’s business, ownership, clients, employees, business practices, affiliations, and any disciplinary events of the adviser or its employees. Part 1 is organized in a check-the-box, fill-in-the-blank format. The SEC reviews the information from this part of the form to process registrations and manage its regulatory and examination programs. Although designed for a regulatory purpose, investment adviser filings of Part 1 are available to the public on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.
Beginning in 2011, Part 2 requires investment advisers to prepare narrative brochures written in plain English that contain information such as the types of advisory services offered, the adviser’s fee schedule, disciplinary information, conflicts of interest, and the educational and business background of management and key advisory personnel of the adviser. The brochure is the primary disclosure document that investment advisers provide to their clients. When filed, the brochures are available to the public on the IAPD website.
Investment advisers are required to deliver annually to clients a summary of material changes to the brochure and either deliver a complete updated brochure or offer to provide the client with the updated brochure. In addition, an investment adviser must deliver to clients a brochure supplement that provides information about the specific employees, acting on behalf of the investment adviser, who actually provide the investment advice to the client. The brochure supplement also includes contact information for the person’s supervisor in case the client has a concern about the person. The brochure supplement must be delivered either before or at the time that the employee begins to provide investment advice to a client. An updated supplement must be delivered to clients when there is new disclosure of a disciplinary event, or a material change to disciplinary information that has already been disclosed.
Before you hire someone to be your investment adviser, always ask for, and read carefully, both parts of the adviser’s Form ADV. You can find a copy of an investment adviser’s most recent Form ADV on the IAPD website. Most state-registered advisers file Form ADV electronically and their Form ADV (Part 1) filings also are available on IAPD.
For more information about registering as an investment adviser with the SEC and related information, please visit the SEC’s Investment Adviser Registration Depository web page. To learn about state-registered investment advisers, please visit the North American Securities Administrators Association’s website, which provides contact information for all state securities regulators.
For information about selecting an investment adviser, please read our publication, Investment Advisers: What You Need to Know Before Choosing One.
Form ADV may be viewed at https://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/iard/ia-forms.shtml.