What is SEC Form ADV

SEC Form ADV is used by investment advisers to register with both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities authorities. It details any disciplinary action taken against the advisor, and outlines their services, fees, professional background and business practices.


SEC Form ADV consists of two parts. Part 1 requires information about the investment adviser’s business, ownership, clients, employees, business practices, affiliations and any disciplinary events of the adviser or its employees. Part 2 requires investment advisers to prepare narrative brochures written in plain English that contain information such as the types of advisory services offered, the adviser’s fee schedule, disciplinary information, conflicts of interest and the educational and business background of management and key advisory personnel of the adviser.

The brochure is the primary disclosure document that investment advisers provide to their clients. Before hiring someone to be an investment adviser, investors should ask for both parts of the adviser's Form ADV, and read them carefully. Form ADV is available to the public on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.

Investment advisers have to inform clients of any material changes to the brochure and provide them with the updated brochure. They also have to provide clients with a brochure supplement that provides information about the specific employees, acting on behalf of the investment adviser, who actually provide the investment advice to the client. This supplement has to be delivered to the client before the employee begins to provide investment advice to a client, or when there is new disclosure of a disciplinary event, or a material change to disciplinary information that has already been disclosed.