August 24, 2010
Representatives of Broker/Dealers are some of the most heavily regulated in any industry. The regulatory oversight, compliance and costs (both in time and money) are tremendous. As a registered representative and insurance professional holding CLU, LUTCF, and ChFC designations, I have multiple layers of continuing education, compliance requirements and both scheduled and unscheduled regulatory audits and reviews. My trades are reviewed for suitability by my supervisory entities before being allowed to transpire. I must keep current and past records of all transactions and log all communication with my clients for access by supervisory personnel at a moment's notice. I cannot see how the addition of fiduciary standards as opposed to suitability standards will benefit my clients. You cannot legislate ethical behavior. It doesn't matter how many laws or reguations you put on the books, there will always be those in every industry who will not behave ethically. The only thing I see the proposed fiduciary standards accomplishing is driving registered representatives out of the market place and increasing costs to broker/dealers. I, for one, will surrender my securities licenses (6, 63 and 26) rather than increase my liability, and thereby driving up my errors and ommissions insurance costs. Allowing lawyers and regulators to use "hind sight" (which is always 20/20) to determine whether I've acted in the "best interest" of my customers - who they don't know and who were not privy to our discussion - is both unfair and unnecessary. Please reconsider the fiduciary standards portion of the proposed legislation.