July 9, 2009
RE: the SEC Proposed Amendments to the Custody Rule Under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940
We are members of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and support their position. The following is the essence of their position as commented by the FPA managing director, Duane Thompson:
"While FPA is strongly supportive of the need to strengthen investor protection in light of the Madoff scandal and other Ponzi schemes, we believe the best approach is to give the SEC the resources it needs to audit advisory firms, not outsource that responsibility."
As a SEC registered investment adviser, we oppose the requirement in the proposed amendment to the custody rule. Our firm deduct management fees from client accounts custody at Schwab. In each client account, before advisory services are rendered, the client has to give written authorization permitting Schwab to deduct management fees from the account each quarter. Each client also receives an account statement monthly and has 24/7 access to his/her account either by phone through Schwab Alliance or via computer by logging into his/her Schwab account on-line. None of our advisers hold tangible or non-tangible assets; whether directly or indirectly, on behalf of a client. The proposed amendment will be forcing us to adhere to the new requirements.
The new surprise audit by an "independent" accountant will be an added business expense to our firm. Rather than absorb the cost, we will likely have to either hire an inexpensive, "cheap", independent, accountant or pass the expense of hiring a reputable, independent, professional accountant on to the clients - not to mention the overhead cost of looking for an accountant and addressing unexpected logistical issues.
We "would support Congress appropriating additional resources to the SEC to hire and train additional examination staff to increase the regular audit cycle of investment advisers."
Patricia Bailey, CFP(r)
Chief Compliance Officer
Bailey and Associates