July 30, 2010
I am writing in opposition to the proposed "fiduciary standard" for Registered Representatives. this proposed standard simply adds another layer of compliance to already heavily enforced, and more effective, suitability standards, adding little or nothing in terms of consumer protection. I am already overburdened in terms of licensure requirements and costs, continuing education requirements, and compliance paperwork, much of which negatively impacts my ability to serve my clients without appreciable benefit to the public. An additional fiduciary duty will only add to the problem. It will not serve the general public. In fact, it will prove a disservice for most Americans. I currently serve middle income households, but a fiduciary duty will cause me to charge fees that I have not previously charged. Those with small accounts and those unable to pay up-front fees will no longer be served. This represents the majority of middle America, who will cease to receive advice and guidance from a trusted planner. The costs would simply be too high. Consequently, the effect of the fiduciary duty will be to exclude much of the middle class from access to planners and the planning process. This is a grave detriment to the financial futures of these families and, ultimately, to macroeconomic conditions in the United States. The proposed fiduciary standard should be dropped.