December 23, 2004
I urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to withdraw the rule proposal exempting broker-dealers from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 when offering fee-based brokerage programs. I believe that the exemption is anti-competitive by creating two standards of conduct for persons offering financial planning services, one for registered investment advisors and one under NASD suitability rules. I also believe that the exemption is anti-consumer, by permitting non-disclosure of conflicts of interest by registered representatives.
If the SEC determines it should adopt a final Rule, I urge the Commission to make significant changes to correct the primary problem of misrepresentation-intentional or otherwise-by the broker sales agent acting as a trusted adviser. Broker dealers offering fee-based programs should be required to comply with current registration requirements of the Adviser Act and fully disclose conflicts of interest and all sources of compensation.