July 14, 2009
Good morning ladies and gentlemen:
I am an investment advisor with my own firm. Under the rule you are proposing to require an outside CPA to perform and audit would be detrimental to my business and it would not provide you with the outcome you wish to achieve.
As a CPA myself I know audits are performed to determine if the business is compliant with generally accepted accounting principles. They are not to determine fraud, illegal acts or other types of scams. These scams may be found by the auditor in performing his/her test of transactions and other nontransactional testing. However, most auditors do not find fraud. This statement can be backed up by looking at the immoral doings of Enron, Madoff, Stanford, WorldCom and countless others. All had to be audited and the audits came back clean.
This rule you are voting on imposing will only put small advisory firms out of business. This will leave the larger firms, which have been fraught with ethical problems, left. If your goal is to provide more prevention of ponzi schemes such as the Madoff scandal, then this is not the answer. What might be a better solution is to have all investment firms give custody to outside entities and to provide you guys with more trained examination staff.
I personally custody my assets with Schwab. I am not affiliated with them in any way and they provide a second set of statements to my clients. This allows my clients to be protected and given a second set of statements that I have no control over. Further I am not allowed to withdrawal monies to anyone but the client's address of record or their personal bank account.
The Ponzi schemes uncovered by the SEC had nothing to do with fees deducted by investment advisors. The scheme was allowed to continue to go on because SEC and FINRA continued to ignore repeated warnings by media and whistle-blowers. Madoff was a broker dealer for decades before he became and investment advisor. This $50 billion scam did not happen in the last two years he was an investment advisor. The majority of this scam occurred when he was a broker dealer.
If I am required to provide this audit I will have to pass those costs onto clients, who ultimately you are trying to protect. Those of us who are morally ethical would the ones that suffer from this ruling. Those that choose to circumvent the system to suit their own agenda will still continue to do so with this proposal. Madoff did not steal from his clients by charging undocumented fees. I will say again, audits do not provide a hindrance to fraud nor are they designed to do so.
Thank you in advance for taking consideration of my email regarding your decision.
Angela Dyches, CPA/PFS
CPA Financial Solutions, PA
CPA Investment Solutions, Inc.