August 27, 2004
First, I have reviewed the proposed act in detail.
I respectfully urge WITHDRAWAL of the proposed act for three important reasons:
1. Many investing clients do not understand the terms NON-DISCRETIONARY BASIS or INCIDENTAL TO THE BROKERAGE SERVICES -- nor should they require training in securities law before opening an investment account.
2. Both investment professionals and the investing public need to maintain and further develop the clear distinction between ADVISER who must hold the clients interest uppermost -- and BROKER who is not subject to the higher levels of fiduciary responsibility of an adviser.
3. Under the proposed act, many firms and individual investment professionals would become exempt from providing FORM ADV or its equivalent to their customers. Certainly the investing public benefits from such detailed disclosure.
The proposed act blurs the distinction between ADVISER and BROKER. It is easy to conclude that many firms or individuals who would become exempt under the proposed act could -- and likely would -- use such blurring to their own advantage at the detriment of the investing public. It is not difficult to predict a decrease in investor confidence and a consequent decline in our economy.
In the current investment climate, we should be taking steps to increase investor protection. In my opinion, the investing public would be much better served if everyone holding a securities license were subject to the higher standards of an investment adviser. The proposed act moves in the opposite direction and should be WITHDRAWN.