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market spotlight | monthly review

The last day of July saw each of the indexes listed here post gains over their June closing values. Despite slumping tech stocks at the end of the month, the Nasdaq led the benchmarks for the month, closely followed by the Global Dow, as each index gained over 3.0%. Both the large-cap Dow and S&P 500 posted gains, spurred by charging energy stocks and favorable corporate earnings reports. The small-cap Russell 2000, which has lagged behind the other indexes listed here, gained a little more than half a percent for the month and is up just over 5.0% year-to-date. The overall favorable performance of the market was more noteworthy considering the upheaval in the White House and the failure of Congress to enact health-care legislation. The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed from June. Yields increase as bond prices decrease. 

By the close of trading on July 31, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $50.18 per barrel, up from the June 30 price of $46.33 per barrel. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.312 per gallon on July 24, up from the June 26 selling price of $2.288 but $0.106 more than a year ago. The price of gold increased by the end of July, closing at $1,275.60 on the last trading day of the month, up $34.20 from its June 30 price of $1,241.40.

did you know?

The financial exploitation of the elderly is a major priority for the SEC and its examination of financial firms. While likely underreported, elder financial abuse and fraud costs older Americans $36.5 billion per year. To protect your senior clients and begin your own due diligence process, ask the following questions:

  • Are you investing retiring clients in appropriate models given that clients’ objectives?
  • Are you providing a fiduciary responsibility for your retirement investor?
  • How are you handling your elderly clients and do you have a dementia or early onset dementia policy in place?
  • Are you acting in the best interest of your elderly clients?


Sources: and National Council on Aging

bright ideas
2017 Inside Scoop on SEC Examinations and Investigations
How the SEC Prioritizes Its Examinations and What Advisors and Firms Can Do to Prepare

If your firm has been in business for at least five years, odds are you have already experienced a SEC examination; if you haven’t, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet—it’s only a matter of time before they contact you to learn what policies, procedures, compliance oversights and risk assessments you have in place.

Since the examination is inevitable, you want to get your firm as compliant as possible in a general sense, but you also want to know, specifically, what the SEC is prioritizing on any given year. Some of our Beacon leaders recently attended a SEC compliance outreach program, and during this workshop, we learned the three major priorities the SEC and its “eyes and ears,” the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) have in place, for 2017. Those priorities are organized around three thematic areas: retail investors, elderly and retiring investors and market-wide risks. Let’s take a look at each category in more detail:

1. Retail investors

With so much information, so many products and so many types of advice available to retail investors, the SEC has created initiatives to assess potential risks in key areas of concern, including: electronic investment advice, wrap fee programs and multi-branch advisors.

Electronic investment advice: We learned that robo-advisers will face increased attention with examinations focusing on compliance, marketing, data protection and the nature of the algorithms that generate recommendations.

  • Wrap fee programs. The bundled nature of most wrap programs cuts down on transaction costs to the end investor—with those costs being shouldered by the investment firm instead. As a result, the SEC will be mindful of firms who offer wrap programs that pay per transaction, reviewing for evidence of potential conflicts of interest, such as generating fewer trades than their non-wrap accounts with the purpose of avoiding paying the wrap fee transaction costs.
  • Multi-branch advisors. For firms with multiple offices, the SEC will determine if you’re maintaining the same rigorous oversight at your branch offices as you are back at headquarters.

2. Senior Investors and Retirement Investments. With the millions of baby boomers hitting retirement age as well as the swelling number of aging Americans, the SEC has zoned in on protecting those investors and their retirement income. In this category, the SEC lumps together various forms of retirement accounts, pension plans and senior investors.

  • Retirement accounts. Examinations will focus on advisor recommendations as well as the sales and management of target date funds.
  • Pension plans. Pay-to-play and undisclosed gifts top the ledger for pension transactions.
  • Senior investors. The SEC says they will evaluate how firms manage their senior investors, including firm’s ability to identify the financial exploitation of elderly clients.

3. Assessing Market-wide Risks
In 2017, the SEC will take a close look at how you are executing trades for your clients. Let’s say you have a large block order. Whether it’s a stock, an ETF or a mutual fund, the SEC wants to know the steps you’re going through to ensure you have policies and procedures in place to show you’re delivering the best execution possible. For instance, are you working the trades through an institutional trade desk and touching various market makers to see which one is offering the best bid, or are you simply throwing them all out at the market?

Final Thoughts
In short, what you need to know with SEC examinations is this: It’s not a matter of if you’re going to be examined, but when. At Beacon, we are committed to helping you stay compliant and developing the processes necessary to meet those goals. As an example, note that an amended version of Form ADV will be required to be used effective Oct. 1 this year. If you need assistance in answering those questions or how you can prepare your firm and advisors for SEC examinations, contact your wholesaler today!

beacon news

We are excited to be named to the 2017 Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies list! Thank you for your hard work and support to our next-generation investment philosophy making this possible.

Be sure to visit Beacon’s News & Press page for the latest credibility pieces to share with your clients and prospects, including a recent quote in U.S. News article: “3 Ways to Stop Overthinking Investing” and Chris’ Cook’s latest Investopedia article “Why Traditional Investment Strategies Don’t Work.”



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Beacon Capital Management, Inc. is an investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additional information about Beacon Capital Management is also available on the SEC’s website at under CRD number 120641. Beacon Capital Management only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or excluded or exempted from registration requirements.

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