August 23, 2004
Members of the Commission,
Please put this monstrosity out of its misery by withdrawing the proposed rule.
I speak from 37 years of experience in the financial services industry, 23 of them with a major wirehouse and the remainder with my own independent, fee-only financial planning and investment management firm, serving 140 plus clients who have entrusted over 85,000,000 to our management.
As a registered investment advisor, I am legally a fiduciary and as such owe a duty to my clients to act only in their best interests.
A broker owes a duty of allegiance to the best interest of his or her broker dealer, not the client.
I may not use client testimonials in my advertising brokers do so, with real or simulated clients, frequently.
I must disclose any and all conflicts of interest, real or possible brokers do not.
Further, brokers disguise their exemption with brokerage account wording, usually in miniscule type, which tells a prospective client absolutely nothing of value.
The confusion that this rule has created allows salespeople to masquerade as genuine advisors, thus polluting years of efforts to distinguish them from real, Certified Financial Planners.
I will not speak of the legal contortions you have gone through to justify this proposed rule.
I do speak to your Congressionally mandated mission, which is to protect investors. This rule is an abrogation of your responsibility.
While the possible intent may have been good - to incent brokers to move from commission compensation to client-centered fees, as proposed and implemented, it is fatally flawed, and should be withdrawn retroactively.
Curt Weil, CFP