August 27, 2004
I am writing to urge you to withdraw consideration of the SEC Broker-Dealer Rule Exemption. Amending it is not appropriate.
I believe that this rule, as proposed, creates a terribly unfair situation for consumers, because it does not require the same standards for all persons who offer financial planning services. This Rule, as proposed, creates a higher fiduciary standard for registered investment advisers and a lower one under NASD suitability rules. The rule in effect also exempts brokers from being required to disclose conflicts of interest when they offer financial planning services.
I believe that the SEC exists for numerous reasons, a primary one of which is the protection of the consumer. The fact that both the Consumer Federation of America and AARP, who represent significant groups of non-industry consumers, strongly object to the rule should weigh in heavily in your decision to withdraw this Rule.
Thank you for considering my comments.