May 28, 2009
In regards to the rule change for advisers collecting fees from accounts being subject to yearly audits, I feel this is a poor idea for many reasons.
First, there are already checks and balances in place to protect clients from abuse. Broker dealers or custodians can and do review the billings for appropriateness. Also, in the majority of cases, these accounts are held at a third party custodian, who lists the deducted fees on monthly statements for account holders to review.
Additionally, advisers who are able to deduct fees from client accounts need written authorization to make payments to anyone other than the client. There is a barrier in place to prevent abuse by the adviser which has worked well for decades.
Overall, this rule would distort the meaning of the word custody. The ability of an adviser to deduct fees from an account does not give the adviser complete control of cash inside of the account. The third party custodian acts as a gatekeeper to the advisers ability to pull funds from client accounts and thus adds a layer of protection for the client.
I urge you to reconsider implementing this rule as it would add little new protection for the client but would certainly increase client fees.