A Refresher on Custody and What to Expect on Surprise Custody Exams

Safeguarding client assets is one of the pillars of an investment adviser’s fiduciary duty. One of the key protections afforded by Rule 206(4)‑2 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, commonly known as the “custody rule,” is the requirement for advisers with custody of client assets to have annual independent verifications of custody. A recent Troutman Pepper program provided a thorough review of the principal requirements of the custody rule, the mechanics of surprise custody examinations, the available exceptions to that requirement and common custody rule deficiencies. The program featured Gregory J. Nowak, partner at Troutman Pepper, and Barry Goodman, partner at Mazars USA. This article distills the principal lessons from the program. For discussion of coronavirus pandemic-related custody rule relief, see “ACA Briefing: Regulatory Responses to Coronavirus Pandemic and Best Practices for Business Continuity and Compliance” (Apr. 16, 2020).

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