September 17, 2004
Dear SEC Representative,
I wanted to take the time and express my opinion on the Certain Broker-Dealers Deemed Not To Be Investment Advisers rule. I am strongly opposed to the proposed rule. I truly believe it would be detrimental to the financial services consumer. The proposed rule would allow broker-dealers to avoid the blanket fiduciary protections of the Act. By eliminating special compensation as a critical element in the contractual relationship, the Rule permits stockbrokers to misrepresent their fundamental sales role as one of a fiduciary adviser receiving a fee for advice. We do not need more opportunities for misrepresentation in this country. As we have seen with the WorldCom and Enron scandals, as well as the more recent after hours trading problems with mutual fund companies, we need tighter regulation on companies providing financial advice and products. Allowing broker-dealers more opportunities for unscrupulous behavior would essentially encourage more of these acts.
I believe there are many inherent conflicts of interest for a broker dealer selling financial products. This rule would reduce the regulatory standards for disclosure and advertising, as well as exempt them from being required to disclose these conflicts of interest. It is important for consumer trust in the industry for firms to disclose conflicts of interest to the consumer.
Further, this rule would place financial planners at a competitive disadvantage by allowing brokers to market similar programs under less rigorous regulatory standards for disclosure and advertising.
I strongly the SEC to reject this rule on the grounds of consumer protection and fair competition in the industry.
Financial Planning Specialist
Accredited Investors, Inc.