January 15, 2005
The SEC is considering the ammendment of the broker-dealer rule regarding advice, as it pertains to fee-based situations. I strongly suggest the rule be withdrawn in entirety, versus simply ammended.
As envisioned, the rule creates a double-standard for broker-dealers and RIAs that creates significant potential for continued malfeasance by the brokerage industry.
We have seen ample recent evidence that disclosure rules are ineffective at protecting the consumer see Edward Jones revenue-sharing issue. I ask you to realistically consider if requiring additional Page 15 small print footnotes will fix the real problem.
While it may not be good advice, and while it is often times conflicted advice, dont be fooled by the B/D industrys claims that they are not selling their services as advisory. As an independent RIA, I hear from their clients and prospects what the B/Ds are claiming to offer. Make no question, it is advice ... period.
As such, can you legitimately allow them to be governed under a different set of standards.
I urge your withdrawal of the proposed rule, and in its place, a true leveling of the playing field.