An investment advisory firm and three of its top officials have been charged by the SEC with violating custody rule procedures, the SEC announced Wednesday.

Sands Brothers Asset Management LLC, with offices in Greenwich, Conn., New York City and Tiburon, Calif., violated the custody rule by not meeting deadlines for delivering required information to investors, the SEC says. The SEC is instituting administrative procedures against the firm and three officers.

The firm’s co-founders, Steven Sands and Martin Sands, along with chief compliance officer and chief operating officer Christopher Kelly, were responsible for the firm’s failures to comply with the custody rule, according to the SEC.

Advisory firms with custody of private fund assets have to distribute audited financial statements to fund investors within 120 days of the end of the fiscal year. This provides investors with regular independent verification of their assets as a safeguard against misuse or theft, the SEC says.

“The custody rule is not a technicality. It is a critical investor protection provision designed to help ensure that investor assets are safe,” says Andrew M. Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “Sands Brothers and its senior-most officers have persistently disregarded their obligations under the law and left their clients waiting for months at a time to have the materials they need to verify the existence and value of fund assets.”