June 30, 2009
While I am fully convinced that additional regulation of RIA's is needded, I have been told that the new rules include a provision for an annual surprise audit of all discretionary accounts of an investment adviser by an independent public accountant. I have further been lead to believe that the SEC considers automatic deduction of client fees from these discretionary accounts to be 'custody' of client assets. This is a great over-reach and will cause a lot more confusion than it will solution to the problem.
By using third party trust companies or brokerage operations and having our clients receive independent verification of their holdings from these entities, we believe that clients assets are protected from abuses such as we have seen from many of the Ponzi schemes perpetrated in the last decades. The automatic deduction of fees in accordance with a signed agreement should not, by itself, trigger audits.