CHAPTER 7How to Make Investment Writing Legally Compliant

You might not have chosen the legal profession in becoming an investment writer. But the legal profession, in many ways, has already enlisted you—and will be paying you frequent visits over the course of your occupation. Keep the figurative counsel's cap at your desk and be prepared to don it as you write, because you'll need to conform to a host of rules and restrictions about what you can say to investors and how you can say it.

In many jurisdictions throughout the world, the investment business is highly regulated, and firms are bound by a fiduciary responsibility—one involving a legal and ethical relationship of trust with investors—to place a client's interests ahead of their own. That responsibility extends to you, as the communicator and mouthpiece of your firm, in the way you sort and express your thoughts; couch, present, and illustrate ideas; and choose your words. It's a deliberative process that requires circumspection at every step.

Failing to comply with regulatory requirements could result in misleading information to the investor and risks harming your firm—whether by damaging its reputation, subjecting it to such penalties as fines or sanctions, or heightening the potential for future litigation.

Rest assured that you'll have guardians to help you out—the specialists of your firm's legal and compliance department. Think of them as reverse gatekeepers: Not a word leaves the firm or sees the light of day ...

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