CPAs and Incidental Investment Advice

BY TOM STENZEL

The article “ Investing After 50 ” ( JofA , Jun.03, page 20) tells CPAs how to advise their clients about investments.
As a CPA and chartered financial consultant (ChFC), I have been working exclusively in financial planning and related services for several years. My primary market is working with other CPAs, and it is based on the assumption they would be unwilling or unable to perform the services discussed in the article.

It also is my distinct impression that to avoid being required to register as an investment adviser, a CPA can give clients only incidental investment advice in connection with other accounting services.

If I am not under a misimpression of the rules in this area, the article seems to be missing the disclosure of what problems CPAs would expose themselves to in providing the kind of detailed investment advice it describes.

Tom Stenzel, CPA, ChFC
Woodinville, Washington

Editor’s note: The JofA has written frequently in recent years about the need for CPAs who provide investment advice to register with the SEC or with their state securities department. When we publish articles about the nuts and bolts of giving such advice, as in this article, we take it as a given that accountants will comply with all necessary investment adviser registration requirements, even though we don’t specifically list those rules in each article.

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