August 24, 2010
I am a Registered Representative of Broker Dealer MML Investors Services, Inc. I am writing with regard to my understanding that the SEC is considering imposing a legal fiduciary standard on broker dealers and registered representatives. The premise behind this effort appears to be based on the perception that the legal fiduciary duty governing investment advisers provides grater investor protection than the suitability standard governing broker dealers.
I disagree that the fiduciary standard has protected consumers better. The difference is the fiduciary standard looks back and enforces breaches retroactively through SEC enforcement or private lawsuits. The suitabiity standard looks forward and tries to prevent harm to consumers through ongoing and frequent FINRA and broker dealer audits and compliance processes.
I believe the suitability standard governing broker dealers and registered representatives is a vigorously enforced standard that serves the public well.