August 25, 2010
Re: Fiduciary Standards on Registered Representatives
To whom it may Concern,
I operate as both Registered Representative and a Registered Investment Advisor. Where appropriate I will place clients in Advisory Accounts and I still use retail accounts where it is suitable.
I am licensed in approximately 27 states for both securities and life insurance. On a routine basis I usually complete approximately 25 to 40 hours of Continuing Education per year in spite of the fact that the Office of the Commissioner only requires 24 hours over a two year cycle.
In addition I regularly complete the required update Exams to maintain my Series 7 and Series 63 license along with scheduled compliance update exams with my Broker Dealer.
I employ a full time staff person who largely does nothing but keeping me and my office in compliance. In many cases I spend as much effort on retail sales in meeting the compliance requirements as I do preparing my client for the Point of sale.
In most cases I do not believe the general public really understands what this means to he or she. Like disclosure requirements on a home loan, to them it's simple more paper to review and sign.
To be clear I appreciate the verification of the disclosures as a Rep.
This new proposal, setting Fiduciary Standards on Registered Representatives will in my opinion disenfranchise the small or new investors just starting out. If these new standards are imposed new and small investors will not have the available services of a Registered Investment Advisor for several reasons:
1. Many will not be willing to pay an Advisor a fee appropriate to the time and effort needed to educate, and guide the small and new investor.
2. Most Advisors will not be able to afford the time to serve these accounts on an Advisory Basis.
3. Most of these small and new investors will be limited to getting service from the 1-800 numbers at sales desks by people who may not be qualified to answer many of the questions and issues we currently help these people with.
4. The people on the 1-800 numbers are not as accountable as we are given the care and planning that goes into making certain the investments they purchase are suitable for their needs.
By making the proposed change in fiduciary standards will only serve to make it more difficult for the folks on the bottom rung from obtaining accurate professional advice. Currently we have the ability to help these customers. We enjoy doing it, and in the current regulatory environment we can afford to help them. Don't make it impractical for these people to get the help and advice they need.