February 5, 2005
After reviewing the numerous comments already sent to the Commission from consumer groups, there is little more I can say on the subject other than encouraging the Commission to do their job of protecting consumers. I draw your attention to the Consumer Federation of America letter to the Commission and the study of consumers expectations by TD Waterhouse that shows the confusion the investing public has over the issue of fiduciary and the expectation that if one calls themself an advisor look at Morgan Stanley, Merrill, etc advertizing their brokers as advisors, charges like an advisor fees based on asset base rather than transactions they expect a fiduciary standard.
If they walk charge fees like an advisor, quack like an advisor, call themselves an advisor lets treat them as an advisor -- not a broker.
Instead of trying to define advice incidental to the sale of securities, lets look to the primary way the broker is acting -- the services provided and the way they are compensated.
Also, consider the letter of comment you have from Cambridge Alliance Insurance about where they found most of the claims filed for malpractice of brokers and registered investment advisors. As they report, it was brokers. So much so that they separated brokers from RIAs in offering coverage.
Please do the right thing for the consumer this time before someone like the Attorney General from a large state finally forces the Commission to act. Lets not revisit another scandal.