July 23, 2009
Before passing such a draconian rule, please consider that advisors are deducting fees as a convenience to their clients and not because they are attempting to hide or steal anything.
The fee deduction simply serves the same purpose as a utility company debiting a user's checking account for the monthly bill. While there is the potential for an error to be made by the utility company, in all likelihood it would be caught because each debit is advised in advance by an invoice. In any event, the error would not be fradulent, nor would it be indicative of fraudlent activities.
Additionally, when an advisor attempts to charge a fee that appears excessive to the assets in the account, the custodian flags it and requires additional explanation from the advisor. Therefore, some oversight already exists via the custodian.
If this rule does pass, then I will be forced to return my billing practices to the 1980's by having my clients mail me a check each quarter, creating additional inconvenience for them and greater administrative burden for me.
Please consider your actions in light of the reality that advisors who defrauded clients did not do so via the convenience of fee deductions.