September 29, 2004
I urge the SEC to withdraw the rule proposal exempting broker dealers from the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 when offering fee-based brokerage programs. I believe that the exemption is anti-competitive by creating two standards of conduct for persons offering financial planning services, one for registered investment advisors and one under NASD suitability rules. I also believe that the exemption is anti-consumer by permitting non-disclosure of conflicts of interest by registered representatives.
If the SEC determines it should adopt a final Rule, I urge the Commission to make significant changes to correct the primary problem of misrepresentation - intentional or otherwise - by the broker sales agent acting as a trusted advisor. Broker dealers offering fee-based programs should be required to comply with current registration requirements of the Advisors Act and fully disclose conflicts of interest and all sources of compensation.
Timothy C. Harrington, CFP