August 25, 2004
Pertaining to the the rule exempting broker-dealers from the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 when offering fee-based brokerage programs.
I urge you to Withdraw, not amend, the rule proposal. This rule is harmful to consumers by creating two different standards of conduct for persons offering financial planning services: a higher fiduciary standard for registered investment advisors and a lower one under NASD suitability rules. The rule also exempts, in effect, brokers from being required to disclose conflicts of interest in connection with the offering of financial services.
In a time of high scutiny of mutual fund practices and variable annuity sales practices, it is unbelievable that there would be different standards depending on who is offering the service.
Mark W. Feucht