What Is SEC Form ADV-W?

SEC Form ADV-W is used to withdraw registration as a registered investment adviser (RIA) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This form is required under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and has several schedules that must be completed, listing the advisor's contact information, current business, and status of clientele. A statement of financial condition along with a description of books and records is also required.

Key Takeaways:

  • SEC Form ADV-W is submitted when an RIA no longer wishes to maintain their active license to practice as an investment adviser.
  • It is also used if the adviser is switching from federal to state registration.
  • The form is filed with the SEC and lists the advisor's contact information and current business status, including clientele details.
  • The filing must also include a statement of financial condition and a description of books and records.

Understanding SEC Form ADV-W

SEC Form ADV-W is submitted when an RIA no longer wishes to maintain their active license to practice as an investment adviser or is switching from federal to state registration. Advisers pursuing the latter course of action do not need to complete sections 1E through eight of the form.

SEC Form ADV-W is required under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, a federal law that defines the role and responsibilities of an investment advisor. The act regulates company organizations that engage in investing and trading and who offer their own securities to investors and was intended to minimize conflicts of interest.

Other forms related to this filing include Form ADV-R and ADV-S.

Partial Withdrawal vs. Full Withdrawal

An RIA might file for partial withdrawal or full withdrawal. With a partial withdrawal, an adviser may cease to do business in some, but not all, of the jurisdictions where they are registered. An RIA would also file for partial withdrawal if they were switching from state registration to SEC registration—or vice versa.

With a full withdrawal, on the other hand, an RIA might withdraw from all of the jurisdictions where they are registered. 

Information Required on SEC Form ADV-W

An RIA who wishes to deregister with the SEC must provide all of the following information on Form ADV-W and its schedules:

  • Name, CRD number, and other identifying information
  • Status of Advisory Business, including the date they ceased to do business and the reason for their withdrawal from business
  • Money owed to clients
  • Custody of client assets
  • Advisory contracts, including whether they have been assigned and to whom
  • Judgments and liens against the RIA
  • Statement of financial condition
  • Books and records, including the identifying information of persons who will keep copies of the books and records and the location of those books and records
  • Signature of the RIA
  • Any additional information

Often, an RIA will seek the assistance of an attorney to fill out and file SEC Form ADV-W.

Record-Keeping Requirements after Filing SEC Form ADV-W

Once Form ADV-W is filed, the de-registered advisor will need to maintain all of their records and books for some period, usually about three to five years after filing. The exact length of time depends on the state in which the advisor was registered.