An investment adviser is any person who, for compensation, engages in the business of advising others, either directly or through publications, writings or electronic means, as to the value of securities or as to the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities, or who, for compensation and as a part of a regular business, issues or promulgates analyses or reports concerning securities. Investment advisers may manage, on a day-to-day basis, client stock portfolios, use discretionary powers to make investment decisions, perform market timing, prepare financial plans involving securities or publish reports on securities. However, Wisconsin does not regulate by title, and merely calling oneself a financial planner, for example, does not trigger the investment adviser registration requirement if that person does not give advice on securities
With the passage of the National Securities Markets Improvement Act in 1996, regulation of investment advisers was divided between the US Securities & Exchange Commission and state regulators. The dividing line for regulation is based upon the amount of assets under management of the investment adviser or the types of clients the adviser has. An adviser who has $25 million or more in assets under management, or who is an adviser to an investment company, is required to register only with the SEC. Advisers who do not have $25 million in assets under management, or who do not manage assets at all, such as fee-only planners or those whose only business is soliciting clients for other advisers, are subject to the registration requirements of the states in which they conduct business.
State regulated investment advisers must be registered if they have a place of business in Wisconsin or if they have more than five Wisconsin clients in a 12 month period. Federal covered advisers must make a notice filing if they have a place of business in Wisconsin or if they have more than five Wisconsin clients in a 12 month period.