June 30, 2009
Everyone is sympathetic to the victims of Madoff and other Ponzi schemes, however these have little to do, if at all, with fees. It’s all been about the assets. If the assets are properly accounted for and the advisor discloses the fees being deducted, an "independent audit" becomes nothing more than a cost item… eventually born by the clients themselves.
In my/our practice of TWO independent registered Investment Advisors, where we gross approximately $250,000 a year in fees on approximately $22 Million under management, an additional $8,000 in cost could not be absorbed. We would be forced a) to raise our fees b) to close our doors.
With a combined 40 years in the business without a single client complaint, we believe we have been doing something right. All client assets are located at third party custodians and each month/quarter our clients get statements showing where their assets reside. If and when we take fees from these assets, our clients are fully aware.
A Ponzi scheme will generally focus on the 99% AUM and not the 1% fee. Regulatory attention should do the same.