June 30, 2009
I am a financial advisor, a member of the Financial Planning Association and an employee of an SEC-registered investment advisory firm. I am writing in opposition to the requirement in the proposed amendments to the custody rule that would subject investment advisers to a surprise audit by an accounting firm.
I am particularly concerned that those RIA firms that simply deduct their normal and customary fees from a 3rd party custodied account are technically deemed to "have custody" of client assets—which seems to stretch the definition of "custody" unduly.
The Ponzi schemes uncovered by the SEC had nothing to do with fees deducted by investment advisers. As far as we are aware, there have been no systemic problems in this area and are unnecessary, costly and burdensome, particularly for small, independent investment advisers. Thus, the proposed surprise audit requirement appears to be more of a political reaction to public criticism of the SEC and congressional pressure after the Madoff scandal than an effective regulatory response. Please reject this proposal.
Daniel H. Boyce