September 2, 2004
I urge you to WITHDRAW, not amend, the rule exempting
broker-dealers from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 when offering fee-based brokerage programs. This exemption 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.
W. Don Brown