August 24, 2004
Please do not exempt broker-dealers from the Invetment Advisors Act of 1940 when they offer fee-based brokerage programs. Please withdraw your rule proposal so that all advisors, brokers, etc play on the same playing field and conduct their business with the public on the same set of professional standards. Its also unconscionable that brokers would be allowed not to disclose their conflicts of interest in connection with the offering of financial planning services. The rule, if allowed to be enacted would be grossly harmful to consumers since it would create two different sets of standards of conduct for persons offering financial planning services, i.e., a higher set of standards for RIAs and a lower one for brokers under NASD suitability rules.
The abuses of the Act are blatantly obvious in the advertising done by the brokerage industry when they use the word advice throughout their advertising in big bold letters, then in the tiniest of print in the bottow of the ad, they disclaim their advice as being incidental to the relationship. Thats blasphemous and highy unethical. You are in a position to stop this abuse...Please do so.