February 1, 2005
Although the SECs reproposed broker-dealer rule offers some improvements over one the originally proposed, I believe it still does not satisfy the main issue for consumers: If a broker-dealer gives advice that goes beyond the traditional buy this, sell that because, then it should register under the Advisers Act. Exemption from the Advisers Act denies consumers important protections that simply do not exist in the broker-dealer sales-oriented regulatory environment.
I do not believe that the SEC can successfully craft a rule that draws a line between advice that is solely incidental to brokerage services and advice that is more. No amount of disclosure will be adequate for the typical consumer to understand the difference.
I believe ALL financial planning advice given to consumers should ALWAYS be in the clients best interest - and this means requiring registration under the Advisers Act for broker-dealers who provide advice other than what to buy or sell.
John S. Davis, CFP
President, Mentor Capital Management Inc.