January 13, 2011
My firm, JVL Associates, LLC works with a select number of higher net worth families. We have been in business since 2002 and have assets under management in the neighborhood of $100 million. We have been registered with the SEC since our inception and have been audited by the SEC on two separate occasions. Our firm is primarily made up of "withdrawing" clients as opposed to "accumulating" clients. Most of my clients utilize their investment assets for living expenses. Our assets under management decrease with each client withdrawal and increase by the market growth in the portfolios as well as the periodic addition of new clients.
In 2007 our assets under management exceeded $100 million on an intra-year basis. The market decline of 2008 dropped our assets and we have been increasing the assets under management in 2009 and 2010 through market performance and adding additional clients to a point where we are again in the $100 million range.
As an adviser that has continuously been registered with the commission I would ask that you provide a buffer so that advisers like us are not thrown back and forth between commission and state registrations. At a recent conference hosted by the State of Michigan we were informed that all of our client investment advisory agreements would have to be rewritten and resigned if we came under state registration. That is because Michigan requires language different from the language required by the commission. As an advisory firm "on the edge" of the $100 million I would like to know that the commission provides a buffer large enough to take into account the "normal" fluctuations in market performance. Given the volatility in the markets it is conceivable, even probable that firms would be switching back and forth between commission and state registration on a regular basis.
I would suggest a buffer of $10 million which is 10% of the threshold amount. As the current regulations provide flexibility for firms with assets under management between $25 and $30 million I am suggesting the commission provide flexibility for firms with assets under management between $90 and $100 million. This would allow firms to experience market fluctuation while maintaining a consistent set of uniform rules, regulations and documentation. This consistency would be in the best interest of our clients as well as our firm.
I appreciate your consideration in this manner.
JVL Associates, LLC
Gerald R. VanderLugt CPA CFP®
Owner & Chief Compliance Officer