August 24, 2010
To whom it may concern:
I am a registered representative and registered investment advisor with Park Avenue Securities. Compliance and suitability within my broker dealer's standards are already extremely thorough. The amount of paperwork to process to comply with thier standards and comply with the laws set forth by the SEC and Finra are already extreme and constantly being modified to stay abreast of reform.
Potential clients who are starting out saving for thier future are unfortunately passed over by many people in the industry becuase of the complexity of processing thier business and the minimal compensation associated with thier accounts. This leaves many young people and those just starting out with little advice during the time when thier savings can pay the most rewards later in life. They are unfortunately left to thier own devices until they have managed to accumulate enough assets on thier own to become profitable clients for advisors.
More regulation and paperwork will make this boundary to entry even harder to surpass for many families by creating more paperwork. It may even cause many advisors to begin charging fees to work with these individuals to make sure they are compensated for thier time. This fee does not guarantee that the advice is any more free of bias than it would have been if they hadn't paid a fee, and many people will be unable or unwilling to pay said fees.
Creating a loosely defined "fudiciary standard" in our industry will also raise the amount of frivolous lawsuits against advisors which in turn will raise cost of EO coverage and bog down our courst systems. An advisor may already be operating in what they feel is thier clients best interest, but disagreement with the recomendation by peers or people in the media may make people feel they should take action against thier advisor. This increased risk and cost of doing business will lead to more advisors leaving the industry and increase the cost of services to families needing thier services. With less individuals serving our country in this capacity, the supply of good advice may drop severly and in turn raise the cost for those services. Just as supply and demand functions in any market, financial services will also feel these effects of losing more of thier professionals.
As older members of our industry begin to retire, more reguation will make the barrier to entry into this business even higher. More young advisors will fail and ultimately the failure rate may soar even higher than the current 80-85% level it already has. Many people will be left to listen to advice of television entertainers, friends, family, and unlicensed professionals to help make thier financial decisions. Who then will be accountable if they don't succeed?
Please consider the repercussions of increasing regulation on an idustry that did not cause the financial downturn. The fault lies more on poor lending practices, government encouragement of those loose lending practices, and repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 under the Clinton Administration that were put in place after the Great Depression to avoid financial collapses like we are currently experience. No group of stock brokers, insurance agents, or financial advisors brought about any of this. We as an industry should not be made a scapegoat for a problem we had no role in causing.