Securities and Exchange Commission
17 CFR Parts 275 and 279
[Release Nos. 34-50213; IA-2278; File No. S7-25-99]
Certain Broker-Dealers Deemed Not To Be Investment Advisers
Agency: Securities and Exchange Commission
Action: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.
Summary: The Securities and Exchange Commission is reopening the period for public comment on a rule proposal under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 that would address the application of the Advisers Act to brokers offering certain full service brokerage services (including advice) for an asset-based fee instead of traditional commissions, mark-ups, and mark-downs, and that would address electronic trading for reduced brokerage commissions.
Dates: Comments should be received on or before September 22, 2004.
Addresses: Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
For Further Information Contact: Robert L. Tuleya, Attorney-Adviser, or Nancy M. Morris, Attorney-Fellow, (202) 942-0719, Office of Investment Adviser Regulation, Division of Investment Management, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549-0506.
Supplementary Information: The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC" or "Commission") is reopening the period for public comment on proposed rule 202(a)(11)-1 [17 CFR 275.202(a)(11)-1] and a proposed amendment to the instructions for Schedule I of Form ADV [17 CFR 279.1], both under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. These amendments were proposed on November 4, 1999,1 and the comment period initially closed on January 14, 2000. While the Commission received substantial commentary on the proposal during that period,2 a substantial number of comments have been received by the Commission since that date. For example, in the sixty days between June 1 and August 1, 2004, we received more than 45 comment letters. One of these commenters, The Financial Planning Association,3 raised some new issues in its comment letter, and has also filed a petition for judicial review of the proposal.4 In view of the significant continuing public interest in the proposal and in order to provide all persons who are interested in this matter a current opportunity to comment, we believe that it is appropriate to reopen the comment period before we take action on the proposal.
We invite additional comment on the proposal, the issues raised in the proposing release, and on any other matters that may have an effect on the proposal. Do current fee-based programs more closely align the interests of investors with those of brokerage firms and their registered representatives than do traditional commission-based services? If the Commission determines not to adopt this rule as proposed, what would be the practical impact on broker-dealers? Should we require broker-dealers who would seek to rely on the rule nevertheless to register if they market fee-based accounts based on the quality of investment advice provided? For example, should brokers be precluded from using certain terms like "investment advice" and "financial planning" in advertising these services, or is prominent disclosure that an account is a brokerage account sufficient to alert an investor to the nature of the account?
In light of the time that has elapsed since we proposed the rule, we desire to proceed as expeditiously as we reasonably can to complete this proceeding. Accordingly, we will extend the comment period until September 22, 2004, and we currently intend to reach a final decision on the proposal by December 31, 2004.
By the Commission.
Margaret H. McFarland
Dated: August 18, 2004
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