July 30, 2010
The current suitability standard governing broker-dealers and registered representatives is an effective and heavily enforced standard. There is no need for another layer of regulation from the proposed fiduciary standard for investment advisors. Current compliance requirements are adequate and adding more layers will only complicate things and make it more difficult to provide the service to our clients that they need and deserve.
The fiduciary duty as defined by the Dodd-Frank Act would require that all broker-dealers be held to a legal and vaguely defined standard "to act in the best interest of the customer without regard to the financial or other interest of the broker, dealer, or investment adviser providing the advice." I believe the existing regulations already accomplish this objective. The Act does not define what the rules are for compliance with a legeal "best interest" standard thus subjecting registered representatives to the potential of never ending lawsuits.
Who will define what the "best" product would be? Is it the cheapest product? Is it the product with the "best" historic underwriting and service standards? Is it the product from the carrier with the "best" rating? The fiduciary standard in essence adds a vague liability standard that looks back (sometimes after many years) and is enforced after the fact by the SEC or trial lawyers who have perfect vision in hindsight.
Please spend your time and efforts to enforce the current strict regulations already in place. We don't need more regulatory red tape for an industry already heavily regulated. Make sure the current existing regulations are enforced. This would provide the most protection and benefit to the client.
Bruce W. Bowen, CLU
New York Life Insurance Company
8 North Center
American Fork, Utah 84003