Accounting Firm and Two Partners Conducted Deficient Custody Exams
Aug. 24, 2022
File No. 3-20998
August 24, 2022 -The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against an accounting firm and two of its partners concerning deficient examinations of client assets at two SEC-registered investment advisers from 2017 through 2020.
The SEC's order finds that Farber Hass Hurley LLP and its partners, Michel Abedian and Michael Hurley, departed from applicable standards for attestation engagements and compliance examinations when conducting surprise examinations of clients. Specifically, the order finds that Abedian, the engagement partner, failed to confirm balances and transactions with custodial clients and failed to reconcile brokerage confirmations to adviser books and records. The order finds that Hurley, who conducted quality control reviews of the examinations, failed to ensure that sufficient and appropriate procedures were performed and that examination reports were appropriate in the circumstances.
Farber Hass Hurley LLP, Abedian and Hurley consented to the SEC's order finding that they engaged in improper professional conduct pursuant to Section 4C of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 102(e)(1)(ii) of the Commission's Rules of Practice. Without admitting or denying the findings, Farber Hass Hurley LLP agreed to be censured, and Abedian and Hurley agreed to be suspended from appearing and practicing before the SEC as an accountant The SEC's order permits Abedian and Hurley to apply for reinstatement after two years for Abedian and one year for Hurley.
The SEC's investigation was conducted by accountant Deborah Russell in Washington D.C and Junling Ma in the Los Angeles Regional Office, and supervised by Spencer Bendell and Rhoda Chang of the Los Angeles Regional Office. The SEC examination that led to the investigation was conducted by Daniel Jung, Shawn McEnnis, Laura Coty and Audrey Maxwell.