Ethics: Mixed-used Research

In a Schweser Mock, the following statement is considered true: “For any services that both aid the investment decision making process and are made available to individual clients, the firm should allocate the cost between soft dollars and the firm” The reason I have trouble understanding this is that I see that both reasons for the service benefit the clients. One is “Investment decision making” and the other is “made available to clients”. Why would any of the two reasons above be charged to the firm? Aren’t both of these benefiting the client? I thought firms are supposed to pay for what is beneficial to them. What am I missing?

The example given to explain this is that a Bloomberg terminal is provided to clients visiting the firm . This helps inividual clients in their decision making, but not all the clients of the funds. The costs borne for these should not be allocated to other clients . However these very same clients and all other clients could benefit from decisions made using Bloomberg services or research purchased by the firm. So the matter is careful cost allocation between different beneficiaries . “made available to clients” : Research or services e.g. Bloomberg terminals . clients make their own decisions “Investment decision making” : research consumed by the firm that help to buy/sell for portfolios by the firm on behalf of clients

Thank you very much. This makes perfect sense.