August 23, 2004
The SEC should WITHDRAW the proposed rule. It sets up two different standards of conduct for financial services, by freeing broker/dealers of the fiduciary responsibility they should have toward their clients.
Exempting broker/dealers from the Investment Advisors Act will only lessen consumer protections in an industry that is all-too-often noted for failing to serve its customers in a manner beneficial to them. When broker/dealers make their money by fee-based programs, they are behaving more like RIAs, not less like them. Why should they not be required to carry on their businesses like RIAs?
Finally, the proposed rule allows conflicts of interest to go undisclosed to the customer. This is inappropriate, and must not be permitted.