The Registrations, Inspections, Compliance and Examinations (RICE) section focuses on the registration and regulation of broker-dealers and agents, investment advisers and investment adviser representatives, and exempt reporting advisers. All firms and individuals offering and selling securities or investment advice on securities for compensation in the Commonwealth must apply for registration with, or provide other notice to, the Securities Division unless an exemption is available. Individuals must pass one or more comprehensive examinations before applying for registration. Firms must comply with specific record-keeping requirements and demonstrate minimum financial solvency. RICE reviews all applications to determine whether firms and individuals are qualified for registration after the evaluation of many additional factors, including any past disciplinary history or client complaints.
RICE also conducts comprehensive audits and inspections of state registered investment advisers to determine compliance with state and federal securities laws and regulations and to ensure that these investment advisers meet the obligations they owe to their clients. These audits and inspections are often conducted at the investment advisers offices and may be conducted either with prior notice or on an unannounced basis. Among many items, RICE reviews the verification and valuation methods for client assets, the financial solvency of firms, advertising and communications with clients, and the calculation of any performance reports provided to clients. RICE may discipline investment advisers’ who fail in their regulatory responsibilities or duties to their clients.
RICE also collects initial and annual registration fees from firms and individuals. Finally, RICE answers questions from the public regarding the registration status and disciplinary history of broker-dealers and agents, investment advisers and investment adviser representatives, and exempt reporting advisers and responds to inquiries concerning their activities.