February 7, 2005
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the investment advisor exemption for broker-dealers.
Brokers, employed by broker-dealers, are advertised to the American public by such terms as consultants, advisers, financial consultants, wealth managers, etc. If broker-dealers are going to be marketing their stockbrokers as such to the American public, they ought to be held to the same high standards as registered investment advisors. They ought to be required to disclose fully their qualification, disciplinary histories and conflicts of interest -- exactly the way registered investment advisors must do.
I urge you to remove this double standard that has been permitted by the SECs 1999 solely incidental rule by withdrawing -- not revising -- the rule that permits this double standard.
As The New York Times January 4, 2005 editorial said so well, its the S.E.C.s job to protect individual investors, not to reassure the securities industry that its brokers are safe from regulatory standards.
I respectfully urge you to withdraw -- not revise -- the rule that has been in place since 1999 permitting this double standard.
John E. Bergland, Jr., CFPtm