The SEC fined an unregistered investment adviser and barred its principal from the industry for making false representations in marketing materials primarily to professional athletes. The SEC asserts that the adviser, which terminated its SEC registration in 2008 but continued to market its investment advisory services through 2018, baldly lied about its assets under management, clients, management, and employees. The firm emailed its misleading brochure to over 80 prospects over a 12-month period and included a cover email that also included significant misrepresentations. The SEC alleges violations of the Advisers Act’s antifraud rules.
Just because you do not register with the SEC does not mean that you are exempt from its antifraud rules. Section 206 applies to any statement made by an investment adviser, whether registered or unregistered, that could defraud any client or prospective client.