More than 1,400 registered investment advisors have received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, according to data released by the Small Business Administration on Monday.

The SBA data on PPP loans of $150,000 or more show that at least 1,436 advisory firms took advantage of the federal government program created by Congress to help businesses survive the economic shutdown triggered by the pandemic. The number of firms that received PPP loans may be even higher because the SBA may have classified some wealth management firms as investment banking/securities dealing or sales financing companies.

San Francisco-based True Capital Management LLC, which has assets under management of more than $1 billion, took a $1.2 million PPP loan, according to SBA data. No word yet on whether the firm plans to pay the loan back. True Wealth CEO Doug Raetz did not respond to a request for comment.

While the SBA oversees the program, banks and other lenders make the loans. Congress made $670 billion available to business and approximately $130 billion remains available.

The loans, which are available to companies with fewer than 500 employees, can be used for payroll and certain other expenses, including mortgage interest, rent and utilities. Loans will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for those stated purposes. While the SBA initially said 75% of loan proceeds had to be used to cover payroll, that’s been reduced to 60%.

SBA’s data does not provide specific loan dollar amounts, only ranges. According to the SBA spreadsheet, Omaha, Neb.-based Carson Group, with more than $7 billion in AUM, received a loan of between $2 million and $5 million. Carson president Aaron Schaben did not respond to a query asking whether Carson plans to repay their PPP loan or apply for forgiveness.

CNBC commentator Josh Brown, co-founder of New York City-based Ritholtz Wealth Management, which has approximately $1.3 billion in assets, was one of the first RIAs to acknowledge taking a PPP loan in late May and was soundly criticized for it, when it was erroneously reported that the PPP fund had run out money because large, wealthy businesses had gotten first dibs, while smaller businesses were left empty handed. Some advisors also questioned why investment advisors, who charge an asset-based fee, would need the money since the stock market (and the assets they use to calculate their fees) largely rebounded. 

At the time, Brown told Financial Advisor that when the stock market was nosediving 30% and the National Institutes of Health was predicting millions of U.S. COVID-19 deaths in February and March, it was prudent to take out the loan to shift the risk from employees to he and his partner, Barry Ritholtz.

“We have a loan from our bank. We have to pay it back,” Brown said last month. “It’s not a forgiven loan. We haven’t applied for forgiveness. Nobody has. You need eight weeks to go by to apply for forgiveness. We have not and we don’t intend to. We just have a low interest-rate loan from our bank. There’s no government bailout, no taxpayer money involved. We owe money to our bank. It’s not very complex.”

Ritholtz said in an ADV filing on June 5 that the firm planned to pay back the loan in full as per the terms of the loan. Last month, the firm actually did repay the loan.

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