February 7, 2005
I urge the SEC to WITHDRAW, not amend, this rule proposal. I believe the rule is harmful to consumers by allowing different standards of conduct for persons offering financial planning services: a higher fiduciary standard for registered investment advisers and a lower one under NASD suitability rules.
Allowing brokers to infer that they have a fiduciary relationship to a client, when in fact they do not, is at the heart of the growing public distrust in our profession and undermines confidence in financial advisors of all kinds. If a person puts herself out as a financial advisor, she should be subject to the same fiduciary standards as a financial planner, not the lesser ones for brokers.
An advisor who accepts fiduciary responsiblity and acts as his clients agent ought to be clearly differentiated from a salesperson who is contractually obligated to act in the best interests of his company.
Please have one high standard for all providing financial advice to the public. Thank you.