January 25, 2005
File No. S7-25-99
I urge the Commission to withdraw the proposed rule exempting broker-dealers from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. As broker-dealers are now describing themselves as financial advisors in the media, I believe they should be held to the same fiduciary standards as RIAs when they are offering to perform financial planning and investment advisory services.
The standard of incidental to the brokerage relationship is very misleading. Many consumers are sold fee-based programs by large broker-dealers with a promise of impartiality. This is a promise that government regulation should not help them break.
The proposed rule is confusing and misleading to consumers by creating two different standards of conduct for persons offering financial planning services. Based on their own words and actions, broker-dealers DO NOT qualify for an exemption from their duty to the public.
The Commission should act to level the playing field for all firms offering investment advisory services by withdrawing this proposed rule and its resulting exemption for broker-dealers from the investment advisory rules.