With the removal of the 15 client rule exemption from registration with the SEC, many private funds are going to have to comply the custody rule Rule 206(4)-2. Private equity firms will have the most problems trying to meets the demands of the rule.
The SEC is trying to help. They updated the Staff Responses to Questions About the Custody Rule.
Apparently they have been getting lots of questions about how the surprise examination should work.
Q: Is there an example of a report that may be issued by the independent public accountant performing a surprise examination of the adviser?
A: Yes. As stated within the Commission’s Guidance for Accountants (see Release No. IA 2969), the surprise examination is a compliance examination to be conducted in accordance with AICPA attestation standards. The AICPA has issued an illustrative surprise examination report to reflect the reporting specified in the Guidance for Accountants. The illustrative report is available on the AICPAs website at http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/AccountingAndAuditing/Resources/
Additionally, the AICPA published this illustrative surprise examination report in the May 2010 edition of the Audit and Accounting Guide — Investment Companies. (Posted September 9, 2010)
Q: Within the Guidance for Accountants contained in Release IA-2969, the Commission indicated that two types of reports issued under the AICPA professional standards (Type II SAS 70 or AT 601 compliance attestation) would be sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the internal control report. Are there other report formats that can be used to satisfy the Custody Rule?
A: Yes. The AICPA recently developed a report that under AT 101, Attest Engagements, of the AICPA’s professional standards that would be acceptable under the Custody Rule. An illustrative report is currently available on the AICPA’s website at http://www.aicpa.org/
DownloadableDocuments/Custody_report_September_1final.pdf. (Posted September 9, 2010)