July 1, 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing as an SEC Registered Investment Advisor to express my strong opposition to the SEC’s proposed rule under File Number S7-09-09. In particular, although our firm is in favor of audits by the SEC, the idea of an audit being conducted by an independent accounting firm is an overreaction by the SEC to public criticism and political pressure for not looking into the Madoff Ponzi scheme. The new surprise independent accounting firm audit requirement will add additional costs to our business, which is striving to provide compliant investment advisor services to our clients during a time when the existing crisis has already put undue burden on our enterprise. Now, more than ever, our time needs to be devoted to helping our clients through a very stressful period in their investment and financial planning lives. The SEC has already resolved the most significant issue with the custody rule by eliminating a loophole from registration for certain accounting firms with the PCAOB. It was the SEC’s lack of aggressive enforcement which allowed Madoff to conduct his schemes as represented by the SEC’s “hear no evil, see no evil” conduct even after several warnings had been rendered to the SEC. The Madoff Ponzi scheme had nothing to do with fees deducted by investment advisers. As a matter of fact, there have been generally no systemic problems in this area and this new rule is unnecessary, costly and burdensome for the smallest of independent RIAs. Our firm would support Congress appropriating additional funds to hire and train additional SEC staff to examine and enforce during regular audit cycles.
Charles F. Steege, CFP®
Cc: Mr. Kelly Groff, CFP®
Chief Compliance Officer, SFG Investment Advisors, Inc.
Charles F. Steege, CFP(r), President
SFG Investment Advisors, Inc.