July 1, 2009
I am a member of FPA and serve clients through our small state RIA firm. We will soon become registered with SEC. I have read most of the comments posted to date which clearly and with essential uniformity point out the proposal's flaws in target, design, effect and uneccessary burdensome costs.
There is little if any justification for this type of broad brush approach to preventing fraud where 1. It does not exist in the first place, 2. would not be prevented by the proposal but in effect would simply make it burdensome and to the consumer even less transparent than what is already a transparent process and 3. serves as a distraction from the real threats brought to light by the failure of FINRA and SEC in the Madoff and other similar cases.
Redefining IA's whose sole access to client funds is through tightly arranged billing processes through unafilliated third party custodians as having custody is an excellent example of straining at gnats where alligators run free.
Regulation of the type proposed is ill conceived and will only have negative impact on consumer protections. Go back to the drawing board on this particular aspect of the proposal.
On the other hand, where dually registered firms are involved and it's apparent they can't distinguish between acting as advisors and as broker dealers, let them be audited semi-annually by suprise and at their expense.
David L. Maurice, M.Div., CFP®