August 24, 2004
I urge you to WITHDRAW your proposal to exempt broker/dealers from the requirements of the Securities Act of 1940 when they offer fee-based brokerage programs.
They call themselves financial advisors, and yet they attempt to skirt regulatory oversight. To say that their financial advice is incidental to the sale of products is contrary to their TV advertisements and how they verbalize their relationship to their clients.
I can imagine a broker, a financial consultant, a whatever-I-put-on-my-business-card, telling the client: I am a financial consultant, but I am here to sell product, not to render advice. No, no, no, that is not going to happen.
If they want to give financial advice, then they should conform to the appropriate professional and regulatory standards. They should not be able to HIDE behind the word incidental -- df. of a minor, casual, or subordinate nature.
If you continue to exempt the brokerage firms, you make a mockery of your charge to protect the public. Maybe protecting the public an incidental mission of the SEC.