Subject: File No. S7-25-99
From: Susan G. Freed, CFP
Affiliation: Susan Freed & Associates, Inc.
September 7, 2004
I have tried to submit these comments via your website but do not believe they have been transmitted. My comments appear below. Please post these to your website, if possible.
I cannot tell you how strongly I support withdrawal of the so-called Merrill Lynch Rule.
This is the worst proposed rule-making I have witnessed in the 20+ years I have been involved in the Securities Industry, as both a Registered Representative and as a Registered Investment Advisor.
Under this rule:
- The SEC would be promoting a fundamental misrepresentation to the public by obfuscating and confusing the very different legal roles and responsiblities of an RIA and RR.
- The SEC would be undergoing something akin to self-castration by voluntarily removing the authority it could otherwise exercise over those Registered Representatives who would also be required to Register as Investment Advisors.
- The SEC would be appear to be a) disregarding its role of protecting the investing public and b) caving into well-heeled special interest groups by allowing Registered Representatives to promote their services to the public in a manner which mimics Registered Investment Advisors...yet operate under a much more lenient and anti-consumer legal and regulatory framework. WHOA
I RESPECTFULLY ASK THAT YOU CONSIDER THIS ONE QUESTION:
HOW WILL THE SEC FEEL WHEN 2 CONSUMERS RECEIVE IDENTICAL AND INAPPROPRIATE ADVICE - ONE FROM A REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE AND ONE FROM A REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISOR. YET ONLY ONE INVESTOR RECEIVES SATISFACTION BECAUSE OF THE FIDUCIARY OBLIGATIONS REQUIRED OF REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISORS? Does the SEC believe that similiarly situated investors should be treated equally
and if so, does it wish to actively promote a regulatory scheme where that will not be so?
Please withdraw this rule.
A TRULY MODEST PROPOSAL:
If you do persist in this ill-guided scheme, at a minimum, I respectfully request that you disallow the use of the words Investment Advisor and Investment Counsel to any person who is not registered as an Investment Advisor. This may provide a means -- with considerable education -- to differentiate to the public the protection that would be their due under widely disparate regulatory legal frameworks.
Susan G. Freed, CFP
Susan G. Freed, CFP, President
Susan Freed & Associates, Inc.
2 Wisconsin Circle - Suite 530
Chevy Chase, Md. 20815
Phone: (301) 657-1700
Fax: (301) 657-3707