August 24, 2004
I have been affiliated with a broker-dealer sine 1981. I have beeb a CFPR practitioner since 1991. I am opposed to the proposed BD Rule because it allows registered representatives to abide by lower disclosure standards in a fee-engagement where the ability to hold oneself out as offering advice or planning is too great. This exemption is being used as a marketing tool and is misleading the public.
It is clear that the Rule is being applied inappropriately. I hope that the Commission will not require proof of harm to the public before removing this exemption.
I have no problem with fee-based transaction accounts per se. But the assumption the public makes whenever the word advice or planning is used, is that their interests will be placed first and that all matters of conflict or issues of pricing and self-dealing will be disclosed in advance. In addition to the lack of required disclosure that the exemption permits, the SEC has not adequately defined solely-incidental advice. Using the term advice or planning 7 or 8 times in advertisements for this type of account would not, I believe you will agree, fall under the definition of solely-incidental.
Thank you for your attention.