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The Daily Brief
Mary Jo White Copyright Win McNamee, Getty Images

Chair White and the Maturation of the Industry

Reflecting on SEC Chair White's focus on advisors, Ponzie scheme uncovered involving Hamilton tickets and Will Danoff to manage Fidelity Insights Class Fund.

During her tenure as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White made it a priority to focus on investment advisors, and that wasn’t by happenstance, argues Bob Grohowski, general counsel at the Investment Adviser Association. In a blog post, Grohowski says the attention points to the growth of the investment advisor industry and the increasing importance of advice. Since she took over in April 2013, the industry has grown from about 10,500 SEC-registered investment advisors with $54.8 trillion in assets to nearly 12,000 advisors with $67 trillion in assets, he writes. From day one, White implemented regulations affecting advisors—including the identity theft red flags rule—and business continuity and transition planning rulemaking. She also prioritized advisor oversight, third-party compliance assessments, risk-based examinations and a uniform fiduciary standard. “Chair White’s laser-like focus on our industry might best be remembered as a reflection of this fact and as recognition that we have grown big enough to warrant a place in the spotlight,” Grohowski said.

Ponzi Scheme Involves Hamilton Tickets

Copyright Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Joseph Meli and Matthew Harriton are accused of running a Ponzi scheme with money raised for—what were advertised as—ticket reselling businesses, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The New York City men managed to squeeze $81 million from investors, who believed their money was being used to purchase and resell tickets to a variety of high-demand shows and concerts, including Adele and Hamilton, the Broadway musical. The SEC says that Meli and Harriton falsely told their backers that an agreement was in place with the producer of Hamilton to purchase 35,000 tickets, which are marked up significantly on the secondary market. What was actually going on behind the scenes was money moving in a circle, "creating a mirage of profitability,” according to Paul G. Levenson, Director of the SEC’s Boston Regional Office. Meli and Harriton are also accused of diverting almost $2 million into their own pockets as part of the scheme.

Will Danoff to Head New Global Fidelity Fund

Will Danoff, the manager of Fidelity Contrafund—the largest actively managed fund in the U.S. by a single person—will also be managing the newly launched Fidelity Insights Class fund. Net of fees, the Fidelity Contrafund has an average annual return of 12.7 percent since Danoff took the reins in 1990. The new fund will reportedly contain 75 unnamed securities and be mostly U.S. stock-heavy, according to Globe and Mail. It's especially exciting in Canada, since investors there will now have access to a mutual fund headed by Danoff.

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