August 2, 2010
Dear Sir or Madam
I am the President of the NAIFA organization for the State of Utah and the Registered Principal for our office in Salt Lake City. I represent and speak on behalf of our 600+ NAIFA members in Utah and the 65 Registered Representatives I supervise.
As you are well aware, our industry is already one of the most regulated industries in the country. I would ask you to consider the following:
1. Compliance cost are already very high. More regulation costs our companies money and those costs are passed along to the clients.
2. I currently hold the following security licenses Series 7,65 and 24. I am required to complete several CE courses each year to help me keep up to date on our business. All of my reps also take similiar courses.
3. I currently have two assistants who help me keep track of my agents and their compliance requirements. This comes at a very high cost for our small office.
4. Some of our client applications are over 25 pages long. Our IRA application for example is one page long but the disclosure statement is 25 pages long.
5. I do not see how moving to a fee-only model will result in better unbiased advice. I have reps who now charge fees and I do not see that their clients are any better served than my reps who do not charge fees. Those who do charge fees are required to meet with their clients at least annually, most of my reps meet with their clients annually even though it is not required.
6. Many of our clients would find it difficult to come up with the fees that could be charged. That could mean they might not be able to afford the services of our professionals and try go it alone, which very rarely works to their benefit.
7. According to the Dodd-Frank Act there is a 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." While my reps and NAIFA members believe they are already acting in the "best interest" of their clients, the Act does not define what the rules are for compliance with a legal "best interest" standard- thus subjuecting my reps to the potential of never ending lawsuits, which would take a great deal of time and increase our already high Error and Ommissions costs. For example, is "best" the cheapest recommended product? The "best" premium relative to the benefit of the product? The product with the "best" historic underwriting and sevice standards? Is it the one from a carrier wtih the "best" rating? The fiduciary standard in essence adds a vague legal 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.
8. Just because a client pays a fee instead of a commission is no guarentee he/she is better served.
Thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts on this issue. I take pride in my office and the reps who serve their clients and act in their "best" interest. As this bill is currently written it is not in the "best" interest of the investing public.