July 27, 2009
I applaude all efforts to protect the consumer from fraud and improper sales practices. I do, however, have some concerns with the proposed change of custody rules.
I am a "non discretionary" investment advisor. We have communication with our clients before any recommended transactions occur. Although we take verbal authorization to effect the transaction, we also have a written backup in our files. At the end of each quarter we send our reports along with an invoice. The invoice, in most cases, is paid directly from the account which is held at an independent custodian. The client receives monthly statements and has on-line access directly with the custodian. They are able to easily verify the proper fee withdrawal from their accounts. By changing the custody rule to say that I have custody of client assets for operating my business in such a way would create no better safegard for the client/consumer, would cause a disruption in business and cost to the advisor, and the only one benefiting would be the CPA firms. Would it not be easier to exempt fee billing from the custody rule unless it exceeds a specific percentage of assets under management. This I beleive would still protect the consumer and be less of a burdon on the investment advisor.