August 23, 2004
I strongly urge you to withdraw the rule that would exempt broker dealers from the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 when offering fee-based programs. I cannot imagine the reasoning behind the rule. In this age where increased surveillance and compliance are the order of the day, why would you consider exempting brokers from being required to disclose conflicts of interest? Why would you take any action that would confuse consumers by creating 2 standards of conduct for people who appear to be offering the same services? People have a hard enough time distinguishing Certified Financial Planners providing comprehensive services from financial advisors who are simply trying to sell them insurance or mutual funds. Why would you want the public to be susceptible to brokers who dont have to comply with the same rigorous regulatory standards for advertising and disclosure?
I cant help but feel that the big broker dealers with lots of money are using their size and financial power to push this exemption through. The small independent financial advisor will bear the brunt of this unfair lack of regulation.