Custody – Credit Card/ACH Payments – Best Practices for Avoiding Custody


This sample form is a best practices checklist for purposes of custody as it relates an investment adviser firm which accepts credit cards or ACH bank payments for investment adviser services.



This sample form is a best practices checklist for purposes of custody as it relates an investment adviser firm which accepts credit cards or ACH bank payments for investment adviser services.

Many securities regulators view the payment of investment advisory fees via credit card or ACH withdrawal from a bank account as custody depending upon the facts and circumstances associated with such transaction. Please understand that at the time that this checklist was created there has been minimal public guidance from securities regulator on how an investment adviser can accept credit card or ACH payments without such arrangement being classified as an investment adviser firm having custody of client funds.   The following best practices are designed to limit an investment adviser’s ability or authority to make unauthorized credit card or ACH transactions.   Please understand that RIA Compliance Consultants, Inc. (“RCC”) is not offering any opinion, warranty, guarantee or safe harbor with respect to whether a securities regulator will consider the best practices described in this checklist as adequate for avoiding custody when accepting credit card or ACH payments.  RCC recommends that an investment adviser firm contact its securities regulator regarding whether implementing such practices would avoid the investment adviser firm being treated as having custody of client funds.

Please understand that annual financial planning services or subscription plans with recurring charges may face scrutiny from a securities regulator with respect to whether the investment advisory fee is reasonable.  For example, many securities regulators may find a retainer fee for mere availability (where no services were actually provided) as unreasonable.  This checklist is not intended to address such issues of whether an investment advisory fee is reasonable.

This sample form should be considered as a starting point; the investment adviser firm will need to customize this sample form to its business model and policies and procedures.  Please see our disclosure about the limitations of sample form at

This sample document  is delivered via the purchaser’s online subscription account with RIA Compliance Consultants.  If the purchaser does not have an online subscription account, after the purchase, the purchaser will receive a follow-up email directing the purchaser to establish online subscription account. This step will need to completed before our systems can deliver the sample document.  For an instructional video, please visit

Included with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Packages.  Initially posted in December 2018.


This sample document is merely an example for general reference and educational purposes.  RIA Compliance Consultants, Inc. is providing this sample document to the purchaser on an “as is” basis with no warranty or guaranty whatsoever.  

This sample document should be considered a starting point, and purchaser should not treat this sample document as a final document ready for use.  The sample document has not been customized to the purchaser’s business model, the specific investment advisory rules applicable to the purchaser’s investment adviser or the written supervisory procedures and code of ethics of purchaser’s investment adviser.

This sample document may not be applicable or appropriate for every investment adviser. The purchaser should not consider a sample document purchased from our online store as an exhaustive, comprehensive or definitive list of the items necessary to meet the purchaser’s obligations under the applicable investment adviser laws and rules.

This sample document is not intended to detect or prevent fraud, selling away, Ponzi schemes, undisclosed outside business activities, inaccurate or false fee calculations, theft, misappropriation or unlawful conversion of client funds.

Due to changes of investment adviser laws and rules, this sample documented may become outdated and need to be updated or discontinued.  RIA Compliance Consultants, Inc. will not be providing any subsequent updates of this sample documents to the purchaser.  Likewise, RIA Compliance Consultants, Inc. will not be monitoring and reporting to the purchaser any issues related to the use of this sample document. 

Since this sample document may not reflect the specific investment advisory requirements of the purchaser’s securities regulator, the purchaser should check with the securities regulator(s) with jurisdiction over its investment adviser or review any applicable rules before using this document.

This sample document is not a substitute for retaining a compliance professional to advise and assist the purchaser regarding its investment adviser’s compliance program. Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, the purchaser understands that the purchaser has not engaged RIA Compliance Consultants, Inc. in a consulting relationship by merely purchasing or utilizing a sample form. Additionally, the purchaser understand that unless otherwise agreed to in writing, RIA Compliance Consultants, Inc. is not responsible for customizing this sample document, updating the sample document, preparing the purchaser’s written supervisory procedures or code of ethics, or notifying the purchaser of changes to the investment adviser laws and rules.

Purchaser is not authorized to re-sell this sample document nor license the use of this sample document to a third-party. 


Before this product can be purchased, the purchaser will be directed to electronically sign a terms and use agreement.  After signing that agreement, the purchaser will be redirected to the purchaser’s shopping cart to complete the purchase transaction.

If this product involves the purchase of a sample document on a la cart basis (not part of an annual compliance program subscription), the purchaser will have three ways to access this sample document: 1) Following payment, the purchaser will be redirected to a thank you page with a button to download the sample document; 2) The purchaser will receive an invoice email with a link to download the sample document; 3) If the purchaser has an account or elects to create one at the time of checkout, this sample document can be accessed from the “Downloads” section of purchaser’s My Account page. The purchaser will have 90 days to download sample document, which is limited to 3 downloads during this period.

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