June 23, 2009
To the Commissioner and Staff:
Thank you for requesting comments on the proposed changes to Rule 206(4)-2. The proposed change would require a surprise audit for advisors who have custody of client funds.
This requirement includes advisors whose client assets are held by an independent third-party custodian, a significant safe-guard by itself.
You have defined "custody" to include the ability to draw fees directly from client accounts that are maintained at an independent custodian.
At one time there was a logical exclusion from the custody rule for advisors whose only access to client assets was limited to the ability to submit an invoice to the custodian for payment of fees, with attendent restrictions.
I support the idea of surprise audits for advisors who actually have custody of client assets as a needed safeguard however an exemption similar to the one formerly in effect would be appropriate.
Not to have such an exemption will place an undue burden on a whole host of smaller advisors solely as the result of providing a convenience to their clients.
In addition, there are very few accounting firms qualified to perform audits,their services are quite expensive, and as a result, from a business point of view, we would have to severely limit the number of smaller client to whom we could provide service.
Curt Weil, CFP