Subject: File No. S7-09-09
From: Lowell Gossell
June 30, 2009
I am an FPA member and a registered investment advisor.
Please do not force investment advisors to submit to annual surprise audits solely on the grounds that they deduct fees from client's accounts! Many safeguards are already in place.
- The proposed surprise audit appears to be more of a (knee-jerk) political reaction to public criticism of the SEC and congressional pressure after the Madoff scandal than an effective regulatory response.
- The SEC already resolved one of the major problems with the custody rule, which was eliminating a loophole from registration for certain accounting firms with the PCAOB that Madoff's accountant used to avoid detection of its phony auditing practices.
- The Madoff and other Ponzi schemes resulted from a lack of aggressive enforcement by the SEC and FINRA of current rules and ignoring repeated warnings from the media and whistle blowers. The SEC should hold FINRA accountable for its shared oversight of Bernie Madoff in conducting the Ponzi scheme for decades as a broker-dealer before registering two years ago as an investment adviser.
- The Ponzi schemes uncovered by the SEC had nothing to do with fees deducted by investment advisers. As far as we are aware, there have been no systemic problems in this area and are unnecessary, costly and burdensome, particularly for small, independent investment advisers.
- The new surprise audit requirement will add additional costs to my business that will ultimately be passed on to my clients. [Provide an example of how this will affect your business, including taking away time needed to assist clients during the ongoing financial crisis.]
- In order to enhance consumer protection, I would support Congress appropriating additional resources to the SEC to hire and train additional examination staff to increase the regular audit cycle of investment advisers.