September 7, 2004
Dear SEC Commissioners:
I am Kathleen L. Cotton, CFP and a fee-only financial advisor. I have been in this profession for 22 years of which eight were spent selling product for various broker-dealers. I know more than most, the conflict that occurs when your bread and butter is generated by the sale of financial products. There is no way that you can be a fidiciary when your livlihood is dependent on making sales. Even those registered representatives that claim to be fee-only are selling a product from which they are getting paid for making the sale. A true fidiciary would recommend the most cost effective method for a client to accomplish their results even if it meant they did not make any money but to exempt broker-dealers from the fidiciary rule is a dupe on the consuming public. Brokerages are in the business of selling advice, too, but they are getting paid for it by product sales. If I, as a consumer, believe my advice from Big Brokerage Company is in my best interests and they are delivering it as a fidiciary on my behalf, why in the world should they be exempted from registering. If you do not rescind this rule, every brokerage should be required to flash in neon letters, Buyer Beware.
In my humble opinion, it is 100 wrong to make it easy for the salespeople of the world to prey on uninformed consumers while requiring those that offer objective advice not tied to the sales of any product, to register as fidiciaries.
Where is the justice?
What makes this fair?
The investment advisers who have registered with the SEC ask nothing more than for you to apply the rules equally to all parties. If you deny them this consideration, then you are sending them--and the public--the clear message that consumer protection is somehow less important than the business interests of large financial services organizations.
Kathleen L. Cotton
Certified Financial Planner
Cotton Financial Advisors, Inc.