January 14, 2005
I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to fully withdraw its proposed rule that broker/dealers be exempt from registering as investment advisors when offering fee-based brokerage accounts.
I have worked in financial services more than two decades. I have series 7 and 24 licenses, and I hold the CFP, ChFC and CLU designations. During my career, I have worked for an insurance company, as an investment representative in bank and credit union sponsored investment progams, and as a fee-only RIA representative providing both investment and financial planning services. During the course of my career, I have advised more than 1,000 clients on a broad range of issues.
Experience has taught me that the vast majority of financial consumers, and even many financial professionals, have limited knowledge of financial advisor regulation, compensation, and potential conflicts of interest. Many financial consumers mistakenly believe that all financial service providers act as fiduciaries.
Unfortunatly, many advisors and financial service companies take advantage of this misplaced trust causing manyfinancial consumers substantial harm.
Allowing broker/dealers to offer fee-based investment accounts without registering as investment advisors reduces consumer protection, and increases the confusion among the investing public as to whether their financial advisor is always acting in their best interest.
I urge the SEC to withdraw this proposed rule. I also urge the SEC to require that all financial service providers provide a statement to their customers/clients clearly defining the term fiduciary, and stating whether or not they will act as a fiduciary at all times during the financial service relationship.