August 6, 2010
I urge you not to impose a uniform fiduciary standard on broker-dealers and their registered reps for providing investment advice. I fail to see how imposing a fiduciary standard will provide better protection to consumers. I have supervised reps for over 20 years and have seen no difference in the impact to the consumer whether they were regulated by a fiduciary duty or the suitability standard.
The suitability standard already provides ample protection and cost effective remedies for the investor. Our local agency supervisory officer must check every trade to determine suitability. Moreover, after that we have a trade support system that flags trades which might be deemed unsuitable requiring further investigation and a response. After that, FINRA conducts surveys and audits of trades at the home office.
Presently, if an unsuitable recomendation has been made, relief can be provided via state and federal regulatory bodies as well as either arbitration or the courts. I don't believe the Act clearly defines what is meant by "best interest" of the client which will subject reps to never ending law suits. Ultimately, that will cost the consumer.
Imposing a uniform standard will not eliminate rogue agents. It will only impede those who do act in the best interests of their clients. One shoe will not fit all.