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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Before the
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

INVESTMENT ADVISERS ACT OF 1940
Release No. 1841 / September 30, 1999

ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING
File No. 3-10072

In the Matter of

MARVIN & PALMER ASSOCIATES, INC.,
DAVID F. MARVIN,
MACTHOM ASSOCIATES, INC. and
THOMAS E. DUBIS
ORDER INSTITUTING PUBLIC PROCEEDDINGS, MAKING FINDINGS, IMPOSING REMEDIAL SANCTIONS, AND ISSUING CEASE-AND-DESIST ORDER

I.

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") deems it appropriate and in the public interest to institute public administrative proceedings pursuant to Sections 203(e), (f) and (k) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 ("Advisers Act"), against Marvin & Palmer Associates, Inc. ("M&P"), David F. Marvin ("Marvin"), MacThom Associates, Inc. ("MacThom") and Thomas E. Dubis ("Dubis")(collectively "Respondents").

In anticipation of the institution of these proceedings, each of the Respondents has submitted an Offer of Settlement ("Offer") to the Commission, which the Commission has determined to accept. Solely for the purpose of these proceedings and any other proceedings brought by or on behalf of the Commission or in which the Commission is a party, and without admitting or denying the findings contained herein, except for the jurisdiction of the Commission over them and over the subject matter of this proceeding, which is admitted, Respondents consent to the issuance of this Order Instituting Public Proceedings, Making Findings, Imposing Remedial Sanctions, and Issuing Cease-and-Desist Order ("Order") and to the entry of the findings, cease-and-desist order, and remedial sanctions set forth below.

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that proceedings pursuant to Sections 203(e), (f) and (k) of the Advisers Act be, and hereby are, instituted.

II.

On the basis of this Order and the Offers submitted by the Respondents, the Commission makes the following findings:

RESPONDENTS

A.Marvin & Palmer Associates, Inc., incorporated and located in Wilmington, Delaware, has been registered with the Commission as an investment adviser since August 1986. As of March 11, 1999, M&P had approximately 62 clients and $7.6 billion in assets under management. M&P's clients are primarily large institutional investors.

B.David F. Marvin, age 58, resides in Delaware and is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and 50 percent owner of M&P. Marvin is the largest shareholder of M&P and is responsible for the overall management of the firm.

C.MacThom Associates, Inc., located in Kent, Ohio, was formed in 1996 and is wholly owned and operated by Thomas E. Dubis. The firm was ostensibly formed for the purpose of providing research services to M&P. At no time has MacThom been registered with the Commission as a broker-dealer or an investment adviser.

D.Thomas E. Dubis, age 58, resides in Kent, Ohio.

INTRODUCTION

E.This proceeding involves the failure of M&P, a registered investment adviser, to disclose to its clients its use of at least $920,000 in soft dollars derived from a directed brokerage arrangement with a registered broker-dealer ("Broker") in violation of provisions of the Advisers Act. The term "soft dollars" generally describes an arrangement whereby an investment adviser uses commission credits generated by securities trades executed in advisory client accounts to pay for research, brokerage, or other products, services, or expenses.

THE SOFT DOLLAR ARRANGEMENT

F.Since 1991, M&P has maintained a soft dollar arrangement with the Broker. Pursuant to the arrangement, M&P receives $.50 in soft dollar credits for each $1.00 in brokerage commissions directed to the Broker.

G.In February 1996, at Marvinís behest, M&P directed the Broker to begin paying invoices submitted by MacThom, ostensibly for research performed by MacThom for M&P. In fact, MacThom conducted only a small amount of research, with a total value of $63,000 during the relevant time period. Most of the soft dollar payments were used by MacThom to compensate Dubis, MacThomís principal and a close friend of Marvin, as well as the family of a deceased business associate and friend of Marvin, for their efforts in making introductions and referrals to M&P in its early years. From February 1996 through August 1998, the Broker paid $920,000 to MacThom, and MacThom and Dubis paid $635,000 of this amount to this family. With the exception of the research valued at $63,000, the payments to MacThom provided no benefit to the clients of M&P whose commissions generated the soft dollars used to make the payments.

M&P'S FAILURE TO DISCLOSE THE SOFT DOLLAR ARRANGEMENT

H.Neither the existence nor the terms of the soft dollar arrangement were disclosed to M&P's clients in their advisory contracts or otherwise. Furthermore, M&P failed to amend its Form ADV after directing the Broker to begin paying invoices from MacThom and the arrangement was never disclosed in M&P's Form ADV in effect between February 1996 and July 1998, the period during which the arrangement was in effect.

I.M&P failed to disclose the types of products and services it received pursuant to its soft dollar arrangement in response to Item 12 of Part II of the Form ADV, which requires registered investment advisers to describe the factors considered in selecting brokers, including the products, research and services obtained, and any procedures used to direct client transactions to a particular broker in return for products or services.

J.From February 1996 to July 1998, M&P's Form ADV reflected a "no" answer in response to Part II Item 13.A., which asked whether the adviser "receives some economic benefit (including commissions, equipment or non-research services) from a non-client in connection with giving advice to clients." In view of its soft dollar arrangement with the Broker, and the uses to which the payments were put, this response was false.

K.During the period in which the arrangement was in effect, M&P amended its Form ADV on at least eight occasions. Marvin reviewed and signed all but one of M&P's Forms ADV and amendments filed with the Commission.

III.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

A.An investment adviser has a duty to disclose to clients all material information which might incline an investment adviser consciously or unconsciously to render advice which is not disinterested. SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau, Inc., 375 U.S. 180, 191-92 (1963). A fact is material if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider it important. Basic, Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224, 231-32 (1988).

B.Soft dollar arrangements are material because of the potential conflict of interest arising from an adviserís receipt of some benefit in exchange for directing brokerage on behalf of client accounts. See Kingsley, Jennison, McNulty & Morse, Inc., 55 SEC Docket 2434, 2441 (Dec. 23, 1993); Interpretive Release Concerning the Scope of Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Exchange Act Release No. 23170, 35 SEC Docket 905, 909 (Apr. 23, 1986) ("1986 Soft Dollar Release").

C.Moreover, disclosure of soft dollar arrangements is specifically required by Form ADV.1 See Oakwood Counselors, Inc., Advisers Act Release No. 1614, 63 SEC Docket 2485 (Feb. 10, 1997); S Squared Technology Corp., Advisers Act Release No. 1575, 62 SEC Docket 1560 (August 7, 1996). Form ADV embodies mandatory disclosure requirements to ensure that material information regarding brokerage placement practices and policies are disclosed to investors. See Investment Adviser Requirements Concerning Disclosure, Recordkeeping, Applications for Registration and Annual Filings, Advisers Act Release No. 664 (Jan. 30, 1979); Disclosure of Brokerage Placement Practices By Certain Regulated Investment Companies and Certain Other Issuers, Advisers Act Release No. 665 (Jan. 30, 1979) ("1979 Soft Dollar Release").

D.Items 12 and 13, and Schedule F, of Part II of Form ADV require registrants to disclose soft dollar arrangements with broker-dealers. For investment advisers who have discretionary authority to select the broker-dealers to be used to execute trades in client accounts, Item 12.B. requires a description of the factors considered in selecting brokers and determining the reasonableness of their commissions. Further, Item 12.B. requires advisers to describe the "products, research and services" given to the adviser or related persons, if the value of such "products, research and services" is a factor in selecting broker-dealers.2 Item 13 requires an investment adviser to disclose and describe any arrangement whereby it either receives an economic benefit from a non-client in connection with giving advice to clients or directly or indirectly compensates any person for client referrals.3 These disclosure requirements are designed to "assist clients in determining whether to hire an adviser or continue a contract with an adviser, and permit them to evaluate any conflicts of interest inherent in the adviser's arrangements for allocating brokerage." Kingsley, 55 SEC Docket at 2441-42; See S Squared, Advisers Act Release No. 1575, 62 SEC Docket 1560.

VIOLATIONS OF SECTIONS 206(1) AND 206(2) OF THE ADVISERS ACT

E.Sections 206(1) and (2) prohibit an investment adviser from employing any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud clients or from engaging in any transaction, practice or course of business that operates as a fraud on clients. Sections 206(1) and (2) establish a fiduciary duty for investment advisers to act for the benefit of their clients. Transamerica Mortgage Advisers, Inc. v. Lewis, 444 U.S. 11, 17 (1979). An investment adviser's failure to disclose its soft dollar practices violates Sections 206(1) and 206(2). Renaissance Capital Advisors, Inc., Advisers Act Release No. 1688, 1997 SEC LEXIS 2643 (Dec. 22, 1997) (Sections 206(1) and 206(2)); Oakwood, Advisers Act Release No. 1614, 63 SEC Docket 2485 (Sections 206(1) and 206(2)); S Squared, Advisers Act Release No. 1575, 62 SEC Docket 1560 (Section 206(2)). Scienter is an element of a Section 206(1) violation. Steadman v. SEC, 603 F.2d 1126, 1134 (5th Cir. 1979). Proof of scienter is not required to establish a violation of Section 206(2). SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau, Inc., 375 U.S. at 195.

F.M&P willfully violated Sections 206(1) and (2) by making materially false statements and omissions in M&P's Form ADV and by failing otherwise to disclose to its clients that M&P was using soft dollar credits to pay non-research expenses.

G.Marvin willfully aided and abetted and caused M&P's violations of Sections 206(1) and (2) by knowingly or recklessly making materially false and omissive statements in M&P's Form ADV and by failing otherwise to disclose to M&P's clients that M&P was using soft dollar credits to pay non-research expenses.

H.MacThom and Dubis caused M&P's violations of Sections 206(1) and (2) by knowingly participating in a course of conduct which they knew or should have known was a violation of M&P's fiduciary duty to its clients.

I.As a result of the conduct of M&P, Marvin, MacThom and Dubis, M&P and MacThom were unjustly enriched by $857,000.

VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 207 OF THE ADVISERS ACT

J.Section 207 of the Advisers Act makes it unlawful for any person willfully to make any untrue statement of material fact in any registration application or report filed with the Commission or willfully to omit to state in any such application or report any material fact required to be stated therein.4 A person violates Section 207 by filing false amendments to Form ADV. Stanley Peter Kerry, Advisers Act Release No. 1550, 61 SEC Docket 431 (January 25, 1996).

K.M&P's "no" answer to Item 13.A. in its Form ADV in effect from February 1996 forward was false. M&P was in fact receiving an economic benefit from Broker, a non-client, in the form of soft dollar credits and payments to MacThom for M&Pís benefit. M&P's response to Item 12.B. in its Form ADV in effect from February 1996 was misleading in that the response failed to disclose that M&P was receiving non-research services from Broker in return for directing client brokerage.

L.M&P's omissions and false and misleading disclosures regarding its soft dollar arrangement were material.

M.M&P and Marvin willfully violated Section 207 in that they made untrue statements of material fact in M&P's Form ADV and failed to disclose in M&P's Form ADV the existence of the soft dollar arrangement and the non-research services received from the Broker.

IV.

Based on the foregoing the Commission finds that:

A.M&P willfully violated Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 207 of the Advisers Act.

B.Marvin willfully violated Section 207 of the Advisers Act and willfully aided and abetted and caused M&P's violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act.

C.MacThom and Dubis caused M&P's violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act.

V.

In view of the foregoing, the Commission deems it appropriate to accept the Respondentsí Offers of Settlement.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

A.M&P shall be, and hereby is, censured;

B.M&P shall cease and desist from committing or causing any violation and any future violation of Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 207 of the Advisers Act;

C.M&P and MacThom shall, jointly and severally, within 30 days of the entry of this Order, pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest in the total amount of $976,980 to the United States Treasury. Such payment shall be: (A) made by United States postal money order, certified check, bank cashier's check or bank money order; (B) made payable to the Securities and Exchange Commission; (C) hand-delivered or mailed to the Comptroller, Securities and Exchange Commission, Operations Center, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, Stop 0-3, VA 22312; and (D) submitted under cover letter that identifies M&P and MacThom as Respondents in these proceedings, and the file number of these proceedings, a copy of which cover letter and money order or check shall be sent to Ronald C. Long, District Administrator, Philadelphia District Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106;

D.M&P shall, within 30 days of the entry of this Order, pay a civil money penalty in the amount of $50,000 to the United States Treasury. Such payment shall be: (A) made by United States postal money order, certified check, bank cashier's check or bank money order; (B) made payable to the Securities and Exchange Commission; (C) hand-delivered or mailed to the Comptroller, Securities and Exchange Commission, Operations Center, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, Stop 0-3, VA 22312; and (D) submitted under cover letter that identifies M&P as a Respondent in these proceedings, and the file number of these proceedings, a copy of which cover letter and money order or check shall be sent to Ronald C. Long, District Administrator, Philadelphia District Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106;

E.M&P shall comply with its undertakings as specified in its Offer of Settlement to perform and implement the following:

1.Within 60 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will revise its procedures manual to include a section setting forth policies and procedures regarding soft dollar arrangements with broker-dealers. Included in these procedures will be the requirement that all soft dollar arrangements be approved by in-house counsel employed at M&P. M&P will hold a mandatory meeting with its employees to review policies and procedures including those relating to soft dollar arrangements. Attendance at the meeting will be recorded and a copy maintained in the files of M&P.

2.Within 30 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will file with the Commission and provide each of its advisory clients an amended Form ADV disclosing all material terms of any soft dollar arrangement it has with any broker-dealer;

3.Within 30 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will provide a copy of this Order to all of its current clients;

4.Within 60 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will file an affidavit with the Commission's staff, addressed to the attention of the District Administrator of the Commission's Philadelphia District Office, 601 Walnut Street. Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106, setting forth the details of its compliance with the undertakings set forth in subparagraphs E.1., 2. and 3. above;

5.For a period of one year after the entry of this Order, M&P will provide a copy of this Order to all of its prospective clients;

6.One year from the entry of this Order, M&P will file an affidavit with the staff of the Commission certifying its compliance with subparagraph E.5. above.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that:

F. Marvin shall be, and hereby is, censured;

G.Marvin shall cease and desist from committing or causing any violation and any future violation of Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 207 of the Advisers Act;

H.Marvin shall, within 30 days of the entry of this Order, pay a civil money penalty in the amount of $25,000 to the United States Treasury. Such payment shall be: (A) made by United States postal money order, certified check, bank cashier's check or bank money order; (B) made payable to the Securities and Exchange Commission; (C) hand-delivered or mailed to the Comptroller, Securities and Exchange Commission, Operations Center, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, Stop 0-3, VA 22312; and (D) submitted under cover letter that identifies Marvin as a Respondent in these proceedings, and the file number of these proceedings, a copy of which cover letter and money order or check shall be sent to Ronald C. Long, District Administrator, Philadelphia District Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106;

I.MacThom and Dubis shall cease and desist from causing any violation and any future violation of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act.

By the Commission.

Jonathan G. Katz
Secretary


FOOTNOTES

1 The "safe harbor" provided by Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") does not excuse an investment adviser from these disclosure obligations. The safe harbor protects an investment adviser only from charges of breach of fiduciary duty for failing to obtain the lowest available commission rate where the amount of commission is reasonable in relation to the value of brokerage and research services provided. 1986 Soft Dollar Release, 35 SEC Docket at 907.
2 See 1986 Soft Dollar Release, 35 SEC Docket at 909. There is a presumption that receipt of non-research and non-brokerage products or services, except where nominally valued, is a factor in the selection of brokers. 1979 Soft Dollar Release at n.6.
3 The 1986 Soft Dollar Release noted the relevance of Form ADV, Part II, Item 13 to soft dollar disclosure. 35 SEC Docket at 909 n.32.
4 Section 204 of the Advisers Act and Rule 204-1 thereunder require periodic filing and amendment of Forms ADV by investment advisers. Pursuant to Rule 204-1(d), a Form ADV or an amendment thereto is a "report" within the meaning of Section 207.

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/ia-1841.htm


Modified:10/01/1999