July 1, 2009
To the Commissioner and Staff,
RE: Release No. IA-2876; File No. S7-09-09
I urge you to reconsider implementing this rule.
We established our RIA over 16 years ago and I am extremely confident there are more cost effective and efficient options for detecting fraud.
At one time, there was a logical exclusion from the custody rule for advisors whose only access to client assets was limited to the ability to submit an invoice to the custodian for payment of fees. I firmly believe the exclusion should be reinstated assuming the client receives proper notice from the custodian when fees have been deducted.
In regards to the firms who do have custody of client assets, other than strictly for fee withdrawal, I firmly believe the SEC should be allowed to conduct surprise audits with independent auditors (the problem will rest in finding qualified independent auditors) paid by the RIA firm. If a RIA is willing to accept custody, they must be willing to accept more oversight and scrutiny.
Unfortunately, a few unethical firms have caused the requirement for additional oversight and regulations, however, I am confident that with the proper analysis of the situation the SEC should be able to better monitor fraud without punishing the companies who do not custody client assets.
John T. Orlando, CFS