February 4, 2005
I encourage you to eliminate the broker/dealer exemption from registration under the Investment Advisers Act. Aside from the obvious standards of care differences between those who must only be able to defend the appropriateness of a recommendation - NASD - versus those who must always act in the clients best interest - Investment Advisers Act, it greatly benefits consumers to be able to delineate between transaction-based advisors and consultant advisors. Rejecting this exemption is a good first step toward the day when financial advisors will no longer be able to play both sides of the salesman/consultant table either via exemptions such as this or, more importantly, via the completely legal and ludicrous current system of being able to both sell and charge a fee as many advisors I compete against and lose business to do - due to nothing more than confusion by the customer. As a financial advisor, I ask you to please let our profession begin maturing in the same way the medical and legal professions have - where market pressures can force the separation of the product supplier from the advice giver - the vendor from the consultant. Right now, everyone is so confused by the powerful transaction-based giants of the industry who think you should pick an advisor based on how many CFPs work at the firm. The public is simply being done a disservice when it is so hard to figure out whos a professional, who is a fiduciary, and who gets paid like a professional versus who has lower regulatory standards, who is transaction-based, and who gets hidden compensation. Please help promote clarity and consumer protection by terminating the exemption from registration. Thank you.