Question of the Week

By expanding its current broker-dealer business to include financial planning and portfolio management, TransPlanet Transactions has estimated that it will increase annual revenues by 20%. In addition to the commissions it receives on brokerage transactions, TransPlanet will charge a separate fee to individual investors who require financial planning and portfolio management. By adding to company profits, will TransPlanet be required to register as an investment adviser?

a) Yes, because the company is receiving a separate fee for dispensing advice
b) Yes, it would be required to register as an investment advisor even prior to adding the new services
c) No, it is exempt as a broker-dealer
d) None of the above


The correct answer is a.

Typically, TransPlanet would not be required to register as an investment advisor under the broker-dealer exemption, provided the company is only compensated through its brokerage commissions. Once TransPlanet adds fees for additional services, it no longer qualifies for the exemption and must register as an investment advisor. The requirement has nothing to do with the company’s desire to add to its profits.