July 30, 2010
Your attempt to improve consumer protection is admirable. However, it is difficult to legislate ethics and morality no matter the laws. As a reistered representative with series 6 and 63 licenses, the existing oversight is already substantial between what the broker I work for must assure as to my keeping in compliance as well as suitability standards I must abide by, clients are well protected from misleading and/or inappropriate suggestions. The proposed "best interest" standard would most likely require reps to be fee based to help protect them from unreasonable liability, not necassarliy improving unbiased advise. It would require clients to have up front fees which may prevent some from even getting any professionalm advise if they were unable or unwilling to pay.
Additionally, the fiduciary standard that would be imposed on brokers and reps wouild mean they'd be leagally held to a vaguely defined standard which does not define what the rules are for compliance with a leagal "best interest" standard. Thus subjecting reps to the potential of never ending lawsuits based on hindsight. What defines "best"? Is it price, benfits, service, standards, ratings, etc?
I encourage the SEC to not exercise it's authority to impose a misguided fiduciary standard on reps.