September 22, 2004
To Whom it May Concern:
As a member of the financial planning community with a fiduciary responsiblity to my clients and to the public at large, I am appalled at the prospect of exempting broker-dealers from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 when they are offering fee-based brokerage programs. It seems to me that, in this day and age of questionable proceedures and out and out fraud perpetrated against the public by insiders at corporations and some of our largest, and heretofore, respected brokerage houses, that full disclosure and accountablity should be expected of all, not just a few. All individuals and companies that offer financial advice of any kind, for any type of fee whatsoever, should be held to the highest standards of conduct and ethics possible. This is the only way that we can restore the public faith in our industry. Those of us who conduct business in an honest, reputable format, have nothing to hide, and are perfectly willing to abide by the tenets of the Advisers Act and the Standard of Conduct of the Board of Standards for Certified Financial Planners. Disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest should be mandatory for anyone who works with and for the public.
It is for all of these reasons, and many more I could site, that I strongly urge all members of the SEC to withdraw the rule proposal for exemption of broker-dealers.
Thank you for your time and attention in this matter.
Very truly yours,
Barbara E. Wintner,
Certified Financial Planner