February 16, 2004
Full disclosure is the right avenue. However these proposed forms are not the means to the end. Commission payments are a point where a conflict of interest is possible. All the information should be in the PROSPECTUS in a format the average investor can understand. Providing more paperwork to the investors doesnt mean they:
a. will read it
b. understand it or
c. wont have the same potential unethical broker mislead them again.
Individual investors must take some responsibility to know what they are buying and do a minimum amount of appropriate research or due diligence on the investment, the broker and the firm. The SEC must fairly, swiftly and firmly handle the complaints and take the appropriate action against those guilty of misconduct. There must be a penalty for unethical behavior.
An educated investor is the best answer not more paperwork. Investors already have to deal with more paperwork to open and maintain a brokerage / investment account than they do to get married or have children. The proposed forms wont stop unethical behavior from those determined to beat the system and abuse investors for their personal gain. Investors must to be educated.