Asset Protection at Plante Moran Trust
Jul 01, 2009
There are many layers of protection for assets held at Plante Moran Trust:
Asset Safekeeping Location — Critical in the protection of trust assets is how and where they are held for safe keeping. First, all trust assets held by Plante Moran Trust as fiduciary are segregated from corporate assets. They are held in nominee name or in the name of the trust so they are distinguishable from the assets of the company and therefore not subject to taking in bankruptcy. Secondly, all stocks and bonds are held at Fifth Third Bank, a recognized global custodian. Fifth Third Bank also holds trust assets in a segregated manner independent of all other assets of the bank, providing a further layer of protection. This is an important point, particularly in comparison to assets held by a broker. Fifth Third Bank’s securities-related (global and domestic) custody business is audited in accordance with SAS 70 standards1.
Policies and Procedures — Internal policies and procedures are the backbone of protection for any organization. Policies are reviewed by all Staff annually. Best practices are standardized and integrated into procedures for a cost effective and efficient service. All cash movements have built in dual control requirements. Today, most cash movements are done electronically and require both an initiator and approver. Both have secure login ID’s and passwords. All system logs are monitored by Management. Sales and purchases of securities are handled in a similar fashion.
Trust Accounting System — Plante Moran Trust employs a Windows based real-time portfolio accounting system MAUITM developed by INFOVISATM, a leading provider of advanced trust accounting systems. MAUITM is interfaced with Fifth Third Bank’s system to monitor and reconcile asset positions daily. Reports are compiled by our Operations team and they are reviewed and approved by management daily. The system provides audit reports which allow auditors and examiners to further review the accuracy of our work. INFOVISATM’s system is audited in accordance with SAS 70 standards1 wherever Plante Moran Trust’s data is involved.
Examinations — Plante Moran Trust is a limited purpose bank chartered by the State of Michigan. The Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) regularly and thoroughly examines the trust bank for adherence to federal regulations, state law and our own policies and procedures. Examination results are presented directly to the Audit Committee of Plante Moran Trust’s Board of Directors. The state also monitors the capital position of the bank and ensures that it is adequate at all times.
Audits — Trained and experienced trust auditors, hired by the Board, perform a variety of tests, inspections, verifications and account reviews for adherence to policies and regulations. Results of audits are reported directly to the Audit Committee.
Board of Directors — All trust activities are carried out in accordance with policies and procedures established and approved by the Board. The Board meets six times per year to carry out its oversight responsibilities, including review and approval of all reports, audits and exams performed during the period.
Insurance and Bond — Employees are bonded and Plante Moran Trust carries a regulatorily sufficient amount of trust errors and omissions liability insurance coverage.
Client Statements — The last and most important line of defense is the client statement, available in both paper and electronic copies. Client statements provide detail on all transactions applied to the account during the period and assets held in the trust. Information can also be obtained daily using MAUIWEBTM, a secure internet access product developed by INFOVISATM.
1 SAS 70 — Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 70, Service Organizations, is an internationally recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). A SAS 70 audit or service auditor's examination is widely recognized, because it represents that a service organization has been through an in-depth audit of their control activities, which generally include controls over information technology and related processes. In today's global economy, service organizations or service providers must demonstrate that they have adequate controls and safeguards when they host or process data belonging to their customers. In addition, the requirements of Section404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 make SAS 70 audit reports even more important to the process of reporting on effective internal controls at service organizations. SAS 70 reports from both Fifth Third Bank and INFOVISATM are regularly reviewed by our Auditors and are available to any client upon request.