September 7, 2004
An SEC rule exempting the advisory activity of large wire houses from the governance of the Investment Advisory Act of 1940 will reflect very seriously on the reputation of the SEC at a time the Agency, and our industry, needs it the least.
In my nearly 40 years of providing investment advice to the public, I had never before experienced the degree of frustration and bitterness expressed by investors as with the recent mutual fund scandal regarding after hours trading. The role of the SEC in identifying and punishing the guilty brought a needed stablizing force into the picture. It helped all of us in the field calm the concerns of our clients.
Now the SEC is sponsoring a rule that is blatantly preferential and discriminatory. There is no logical explanation for the exemption. Why should the Agency expose its credibility to the glare of our media? You can believe that all the news services will be eager to find reasons for the favoritism the SEC expresses toward the large wire houses while continuing overview and enforcement for all other advisory services.
Congress passed the Advisory Acts specifically to protect individual investors. The SEC was formed to ensure that the laws enacted by Congress are implemented. The legal role of the Agency is to enforce those laws, not diminish them.
The SEC should drop its efforts to allow the exemption.