September 16, 2004
I am writing to protest your rule that stockbrokers can call themselves financial planners, a deception that may entrap unsuspecting investors. We know that some stockbrokers have been accused of churning accounts of clients, losing money for the client so that the stockbroker could earn a commission without paying attention to the interest of the client. Also, we remember some stockbrokers were touting stocks which they knew were not good investments, again so they could earn a commission.
A certified financial planner has earned the designation and has to abide by certain standards, much higher standards than for a stockbroker using the designation financial planner, e.g., the certified financial planner is bound by fiduciary standards to put clients' interests first. How many stockbrokers practice that high a standard?!
Since the Securities and Exchange Commission is charged with protecting the interests of the public, one wonders what would prompt you to enact a rule very much in opposition to your mission. Clearly, there is a BIG difference between a stockbroker calling himself a financial planner and the certified financial planner. It does, however, take a certain amount of sophistication to know the difference. It is your duty to make sure that designation is not muddied, resulting in fleecing of unsuspecting investors. I urge you to repeal the rule immediately.