SEC Approves New Custody Rule

sec-seal

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted the proposed Custody Rule for investment advisers originally proposed last May. (See: SEC Releases Proposed Custody Rules for Investment Advisers)

As is typical with the SEC, they announced the rule was approved before they made the final version of rule available. The rule amendments will be effective 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register.

The SEC press release highlights the two biggest changes:

Surprise Exam

“The adviser is now required to engage an independent public accountant to conduct an annual “surprise exam” to verify that client assets exist. Such a surprise examination would provide another set of eyes on the client’s assets, and provide additional protection against theft or misuse. The accountants would have to contact the SEC if they discovered client assets were missing.”

Custody Controls Review

“When the adviser or an affiliate serves as custodian of client assets, the adviser is now required to obtain a written report — prepared by an accountant that is registered with and subject to regular inspection by the PCAOB — that, among other things, describes the controls in place at the custodian, tests the operating effectiveness of those controls and provides the results of those tests. These reports are commonly known as SAS-70 reports. Requiring that the accountant be registered with and subject to inspection by the PCAOB provides greater confidence regarding the quality of these reports.”

The rules are amendments to Rule 206(4)-2 [17 CFR 275.206(4)-2], Rule 204-2 [17 CFR 275.204-2] under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 [15 U.S.C. 80b] (the “Advisers Act” or “Act”), to Form ADV [17 CFR 279.1], and to Form ADV-E [17 CFR 279.8].

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