July 30, 2010
As a Registered Representative, I hold a Series 7 and a Series 63 license. My broker/dealer oversees all of my business activities and requires that I comply with both Suitability Standards and Compliance standards in providing client services. These standards are applied on an overall basis and on a transaction basis as well. Our local office employs a Compliance Officer, who audits each RR annually and reviews all outgoing correspondence, and provides instruction on compliance issues. Additionally, our emails are screened for compliance with regulatory and company policy. All of this costs money to provide and the cost is passed on to our clients in the form of account fees.
Additional paperwork is required by the company in the form of Investor Profiles that require extensive information from potential clients prior to any transactions. The profiles are used for suitability purposes and are designed to protect the consumer when doing business with us. Adding additional regulatory responsibilities and duties to those already in place is unnecessary and wasteful.
Adding the liabilities of a fiduciary duty will mean that many RRs will be forced to move to a fee-only business model to survive. Most of our clients cannot afford or are unwilling to pay fees for services. They prefer the present model where fees are incurred based on transactions and investments. Other RRs will be forced out of the business because the cost of errors and omissions insurance coverage will be too high as a result of the fiduciary duty liability.
I urge you not to impose the Fiduciary Standard on Registered Representatives.