Soft Dollars

If you have a big client whose trades are generating a lot of soft dollars can you use the soft dollars to benefit other clients without the big client’s consent?

Yes of course!

Not my strongest area as I just browsed over notes on the entire section, but my understanding is that soft dollars belong to the client. Therefore this would be prohibited.

My understanding is you can use soft dollars to benefit other clients as long as the original client gets the benefit of other soft dollars over a reasonable period of time. The exception would be in the case of clients where it is client directed brokerage or there are legal restrictions ie ERISA. It just needs to be disclosed that you are engaging in these practices.

According to the CFA institute Soft Dollar standards, there is the following statement which backs up the consensus of the responses in this thread:

“Moreover, these Standards should not be read to require research obtained either through third-party or proprietary arrangements to be attributed on an account-by-account basis or otherwise to require a “tracing” of products or services.”