August 23, 2004
This email urges you to WITHDRAW, not amend, the rule proposal that exempts broker dealers from the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. The role of the SEC is to protect the public from unfair practices. The Merrill Lynch Rule allows broker dealers to advertise that they provide advice when they are governed by rules that treat them merely as sales people whose advice is incidental to their business of selling. The public does not understand the distinction. The rules and regulations affecting Investment Advisors and Investment Advisor Representatives should be applied to all who advertise and present investment advice to consumers. Please do the right thing and withdraw this confusing and misleading rule.