Nature of a Consulting Relationship – Not a Law Firm
Although Adviser Compliance Services, LLC (“ACS”) is an affiliate of a law firm and ACS may have an individual on its staff that is also licensed as an attorney providing legal services in a completely separate capacity, ACS is not a law firm or an attorney and does not provide legal services or legal advice.
In general, a licensed attorney is regulated by his or her state supreme court through the use of rules of professional conduct, minimum education and examination requirements and a disciplinary process. Unlike a client of an attorney, a client of ACS will not receive the advantages of such regulatory oversight since the compliance consultant occupation is not licensed by state government.
A compliance consulting relationship with ACS is not provided those legal and professional protections that normally exist under an attorney-client relationship such as the following: (a) privileged communication between an attorney and client; (b) the requirement for an attorney to use a client trust account for safekeeping of fees paid in advance; or (c) prohibitions preventing an attorney from having impermissible relationships with clients, representing other persons with conflicting interests, receiving referral fees from third-party vendors, or prospectively limiting liability for malpractice through a contractual provision in a client agreement.
In the event that a securities regulator has initiated an enforcement proceeding claiming an individual or entity has violated the applicable law, such individual or entity will need to retain legal counsel to represent the individual or entity before the securities regulator. Although ACS may serve as an expert regarding industry practices, ACS is not a substitute for engaging appropriate legal counsel to represent such individual or entity.
The determination to use a third-party compliance services provider is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. A description or indication of limitation of our compliance services does not mean that an agency or board has certified ACS as a specialist or expert in investment advisor compliance. All potential clients are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of ACS.