August 25, 2004
Please WITHDRAW, not amend, the rule proposal exempting broker-dealers from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 when offering fee-based brokerage programs. The 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 advisers 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 offer of financial planning services. It is already hard for any consumer to feel comfortable and trust a financial advisor. This rule would only promote more confusion and less trust for the consumer. Most dont understand the difference between a broker and a financial planner and when one is providing fee-based advice in the clients best interest verses hidden fees and conflicts of interest. This would further skew the lines.