Registered Investment Advisor
Kurt: Chris, you mentioned to me that fines for not registering as a registered investment advisor can come in varying tiers, depending on the way you're perceived to have gone about not registering or the circumstances around it.
Fines can range from a lower level when the SEC recognizes that you're doing what you thought you should be doing, but you just didn't do it properly and fines will usually escalate for egregious and repetitive wrongdoings. Any thoughts on how the SEC perceives the issue of fines?
Chris: I think they're going to look at the activities you're actually conducting. In this case, with eb 5 visa requirements being a relatively new area, it's hard to say how they're going to go. I know the state of California structures their fines on a tier system.
Based on first offenses or minor offenses, it's almost a slap on the wrist, if you will. But I've also seen massive disgorgement of profits where some investment advisors have been operating two or three years without registering and they’re continually trying to skirt the rules.
In some cases they do this through the creation of additional companies in an effort to keep their amount under management spread out among multiple entities, but the SEC determines that those entities were integrated. I think it depends on the actual conduct that determines the severity of the fine.