The New York investment adviser deVere USA Inc agreed on Monday to pay
an $8 million civil fine to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
charges it failed to disclose conflicts of interest to hundreds of clients with
Benjamin Alderson, 40, and Bradley Hamilton, 36, British citizens who
until last year were deVere’s chief executive and a deVere manager, were also
charged by the SEC with concealing the conflicts and misleading clients.
DeVere advised U.S. residents who once worked in Britain on the transfer
of pension assets to overseas retirement plans that qualified for special
British tax treatment.
From June 2013 to March 2016, the SEC said, deVere concealed
arrangements with outside service providers related to that advice that
resulted in payments to the firm.
The SEC said these arrangements gave deVere an incentive to provide
advice that would lead to the payments, resulting in undisclosed compensation
of $2.6 million for Alderson and $2.1 million for Hamilton.
“Investment advisers have an obligation to disclose direct and indirect
financial incentives,” Marc Berger, director of the SEC’s New York office, said
in a statement. “DeVere USA brushed aside this duty.”
Monday’s settlement requires deVere to hire an independent compliance
consultant. The firm did not admit or deny wrongdoing.
In a statement, deVere said it is committed to treating clients fairly
and settled to put the matter behind it.
The firm recently had $498 million of assets under management, a
regulatory filing shows.
Lawyers for Alderson and Hamilton did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
The case is SEC v Alderson et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District
of New York, No. 18-04930.
here for the original article from Reuters.