A Strategic Approach to RIA Registration and Compliance

Guardian’s three-step process provides peace of mind in the short-term (initial RIA registration and the related) and long run (ongoing compliance). By assessing your current situation and learning the areas where you plan to grow, we help tailor a strategy that will prepare you for the future. Because we take care of both registration and ongoing compliance, the process is seamless.

01. Assessment and Planning

Every RIA has unique needs. Decisions made during startup may have long lasting positive or negative effects. That is why Guardian’s strategic approach includes a formal assessment of your situation before the registration and compliance process begins.

Investment Advice Determining if you are indeed providing advice regarding securities that would create the obligation to register as an RIA. Keep in mind that some states have exemptions from registration.

Clients Determining how many actual clients the prospective or current RIA is advising. This is important for benefiting from potential exemptions and for reporting.

State or SEC Assessing your assets under management and the states in which your RIA will reside, will determine if you require state or SEC registration.

Business Entity Discover which business entity (e.g., LLC vs. S-Corp) provides the greatest tax and operational efficiencies for your firm. Advantages vary from state to state.

Assets Under Management Determine which assets must be reported and how. Understand how geographical jurisdiction effects registration.


Most RIA registration providers do not, or cannot, provide legal advice. State RIAs must re-register every year on a calendar basis.

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    02. Registration

    The decisions and paperwork required to register may seem daunting. We simplify the process for you by asking the right questions, making recommendations, and completing and filing all necessary forms.

    RIA Liaison To ensure a seamless registration, Guardian will handle all correspondence (initial and ongoing) with the relevant securities authority (SEC or state).

    IARD Account Setup Guardian will setup your account with the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) online system as required by FINRA.

    Form ADV Filing Guardian will complete and file Form ADV to register you or your firm as an RIA.

    Form ADV Part 2 Guardian will carefully draft and upload ADV Part 2 (also known as the “Brochure”) and will handle all correspondence from securities authorities who may have comments.


    RIAs only have to register in each state where they maintain a place of business or if they have more than five clients in one state.

    03. Compliance

    Running your RIA successfully means not second-guessing important decisions. Our proactive approach to compliance drives efficiency and profitability. Guardian’s investment management attorneys provide initial and ongoing legal advice that protects your best interests.

    Compliance Policies and Procedures Manual The SEC and most states require RIAs to establish and maintain policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Because every RIA has a unique set of compliance risks, Guardian tailors this important document according to your needs.

    Marketing Materials Without experience it can be difficult to determine if your advertising and marketing materials are considered “misleading.” Guardian reviews external communications and recommends appropriate disclosures.

    The Brochure Rule If you register with the SEC or a state, you are generally required to provide each current and prospective client with a copy of Form ADV Part 2A and 2B. Guardian will make sure you’re following the proper SEC or state-specific rules.

    Social Media In today's connected world the use of social media by RIAs to market, communicate and to promote general visibility is rapidly accelerating. When utilizing social media RIAs must ensure that they are in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. Guardian helps to maintain your social media compliance by ensuring that you adopt policies and procedures that are consistent with the governing antifraud, compliance, and record keeping regulations.


    If you are registered in Connecticut you must provide Part 2 of Form ADV at least 48 hours before you enter into a contract with a client or the client has the ability to terminate the agreement without penalty within five business days.