July 1, 2009
To Whom it May Concern:
I am a member of the National Capital Area Financial Planning Association, and our firm is an SEC registered investment adviser. I want to state my opposition to the proposed amenments to the custody rule that would subject investment advisers to a surprise audit by an accounting firm. Clients need to be protected, but this will end up being an additional client expense and not address any current problems. A few comments follow:
--the proposed surprise audit appears to be a reaction to political pressure after the Madoff scandal and not an effective regulatory response. One has to ask what "problem" we are trying to address by adding the requirement for an audit by an outside firm of the fees we are deducting with client permission. As far as we know, there have been no systemic problems in the fee area, and adding the audit requirement is costly, burdensome, and unnecessary, particularly for small, independent firms like ours.
-- the Madoff and other Ponzi schemes resulted from a lack of aggressive enforcement by the SEC and FINRA of current rules and ignoring repeated issues raised in the media and by whistle blowers. So adding additional regulations is not the solution -- let's just enforce the rules that we have already, and do a thorough and complete job with that enforcement.
-- the surprise audit requirement will add costs to my business that will either be passed on to the clients or result in one or more currently employed people not being employed any longer. There is no magic way of creating income in a small business -- we will either have to pass the expenses on to the clients or cut expenses in some way to cover this additional requirement. It does not make sense to me to put additional people out of work during a recession because we are adding unnecessary audit requirements.
We will support adding examiners and increasing the SEC regular audit cycle, so that Ponzi schemes are eliminated in our business. These sorts of problems hurt all of us as well as the clients.
Thank you for hearing my concerns as we search for a more effective solution for supervision and oversight.
Tim Jones, Chairman
CJM Wealth Advisers, ltd.
11320 Random Hills Road, Suite 250
Fairfax, VA 22030