July 24, 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
I am President and COO of a Registered Investment Advisor in Alabama, doing business as of 1988. I am strongly opposed to the proposed custody rule for the reasons listed below.
1. As a small firm, it would create an additional hardship and cost that will ultimately have to be passed through to the client by raising our fees. Our clients do not need an increased fee structure in this environment and it will hurt them and us.
2. As a small, independent firm, we are maxed out with maintaining exceptional service, putting our clients’ needs during this financial crisis at utmost priority, operational and administrative changes, and compliance issues. The client handholding and communication during this time is of utmost importance and this proposal will take away time that should be given to the client.
3. The proposed surprise audit seems to be more of a political “knee jerk” reaction to public criticism of the SEC than an effective and appropriate regulatory measure. The SEC should put more time and money into hiring additional staff to increase the regular audits of investment advisors.
4. This is not going to prevent the small minority of people who act in a criminal way from stealing from their clients- more rules and regulations never seem to prohibit the true criminal- it just makes business more difficult for the honest advisor.
Require the advisor to send an invoice showing the fee calculation directly to the client so that he/she may compare with his/her monthly statement. (Do not most advisors do this anyway?)
Require the custodian to send a statement to the client in any month where a fee is deducted.
Establish a substantial reward for information leading to the discovery of a financial scam.
Private Wealth Advisor
Strauss Financial Group, Inc.
Registered Investment Advisor