August 31, 2004
I urge you to withdraw this proposal which the FPA views as harmful to consumers for the following important reasons:
1 This proposed rule creates 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.
2 The proposed rule exempts, in effect, brokers from being required to disclose conflicts of interest in connection with the offer of financial planning services.
Broker-dealers offering fee-based financial planning advice should not be exempted from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC needs to protect the consumer by holding broker-dealers accountable to the same standards as Registered Invesment Advisors when offering fee-based financial planning. The SEC should withdraw this proposed rule.