August 24, 2004
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since you started playing around with this rule over four years ago, you have not only confused the public at large but you have confused the people working in the investment industry - whether they hold themselves out as advisers or broker-dealers.
I have been in the business almost 29 years and at one time thought I really understood the difference. For years my company did not offer brokerage services as a product to assist a person in their financial planning. We only had insurance, annuities, mutual funds and a few REITs to assist a person when they did comprehensive financial planning. At that time I looked upon myself as a financial advisor - which is the title on my business card.
Now that we offer full service brokerage and wrap accounts, while I still tell the public at large I am a financial advisor who is not allowed to have discretionary authority because it is prohibited by my company I feel more like a stock broker.
In my opinion, for what it is really worth, I have to agree with the FPA on this one. If we are going to have a ruling, it must be fair across the board. The broker should be required to follow the same rules as the financial advisor since most of his/her clients consider them such and the financial advisor should be able to operate as freely as the broker. All should have the right to open discretionary trading accounts for their clients assuming the clients have that much trust in them.
Thanks for reading,
Jerry D Nix, CFPtm
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERtm practitioner