August 24, 2004
I urge you to withdraw this proposed rule. As a long-time investment advisor practitioner, I cannot see how investors are well served by having broker advisors be subjected to a completely different set of rules and regulatory standards. When our firm updated its registration recently, we received a long letter from the SEC explaining how we ARE fiduciaries and must put our client interests ahead of our own. I have no problem with that, but when I am competing with a broker, they tell prospective clients that they are independent and objective and put their clients interests first. All of this causes confusion among investors as to what the standards really are and how they apply. In an August 30, 2004 column in Business Week, Amy Borrus got it right when she said:
Brokerage industry lawyers insist that the advice brokers give is limited to helping customers choose among financial prodcuts. Securities firms marketing, however, suggests that advice itself is a core product. But they cant have it both ways - and its time for the SEC to make sure that they dont. I agree.