June 30, 2009
Requiring an annual audit of SEC-Registered Investment Advisorsí fee process is unfairly costly, disruptive, and unnecessary.
Our process is straightforward and less likely to be abused than wire-house firms that collect fees and here is why.
1) Client signs a fee agreement that details what accounts will be charged, how the fee is calculated, and how the fee is drafted from the client account.
2) The client receives a notice in the mail directly from us EACH TIME WE BILL THEM in advance of the actual drafting of their fee. The calculation of the fee itself is detailed on the notice.
3) The SEC requests samples of the fee agreements and of the fee notices and of the statements reflecting the actual billing event when they audit us. From our perspective, this action by the SEC is more than sufficient and is probably the most important action that they take when they audit our firm.
Please be aware that we frequently get new clients from Trust Companies and from large brokerage firms like Merrill Lynch who also charge fees. THEY DO NOT EVEN HAVE TO SEND A SEPARATE NOTICE REGARDING THE FEES THEY ARE TAKING FROM THE CLIENTS ACCOUNTS! The only way the client is notified is by a line item on their statement AFTER the fee is taken. Why on earth donít they have to provide the same sort of notice that independent RIAs have to take? Iíll tell you — their lobbies are stronger.
Do the right thing here and do NOT pass this onerous new legislation.
Phillips M. Bragg, CFP
Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc.
1031 S. Caldwell St. Ste, 200
Charlotte, NC 28203