Advice Gets Legislative Boost in Florida

Florida’s governor enacted legislation on Monday making it a notice-filing state for branch office applications.

The bill passed the Florida senate in May. (See “Notice-Filing Bill Passes Florida Senate.”) The legislation is critical to the retirement services industry as well as investors, said the Financial Services Institute (FSI) in a release, because financial advisers have been forced to close down for extended periods of time, losing revenue and denying clients access to their advice, because their applications were not approved in a timely manner.

Several scenarios can make it necessary for advisers to re-file or file for the first time. Changing broker/dealer affiliation; moving a current office to a new address; opening a new branch office in Florida (when the firm operates in another state); or opening a new branch office in Florida (even though the firm already operates in the state).

The approval process had been cut down from the weeks it used to take to four or five days, but the FSI called this time frame unacceptable. The law places online the filing system and mandates that approval be automatic, meaning that advisers continue working.

FSI pointed out that client access to advice remains unrestricted, and said the implications are national, since it pertains to financial services firms with affiliated advisers in Florida, no matter where the company has its headquarters.