August 26, 2010
Thank you for allowing me to comment on your File 4-606. I would like to share with you a typical day in my life as a licensed insurance agent, registered representative, and financial advisor.
I work with institutional clients who invest millions of dollars with me and I work with individuals and help them invest several thousand dollars. When working with all of these clients, I am limited in what I can say to them, write to them, and give them. Any corrspondence must be approved prior to use and all transactions are scutinized and "second-guessed" by someone at the broker-dealer for suitability. I "get" the reason for all of this, but enough must be enough at some point. Oh, I also do quite a bit of work for no or very little compensation because it is the "right thing to do."
If I am working with a retirement plan participant, I am barred from giving them the "advice" or information that these folks truly should have that allows them to make informed decisions. These are people who have no access whatever to professional "advice" because there is no incentive for an advisor to work for free. These are also the consumers who do not have the extra money to pay a fee for service.
When I am working with a client, or non-client, I always work in the best interest of the client...I do NOT need another layer of regulation to help me in what is truly a moral issue. I would not still be in business after 33 yaers, if I did not take care of the client first. And I mean first...my mission is to help them in any way possible...but, I must be able to make a living or I will be out of the business and the consumer is harmed. What this added regulation may very well do is to take professionals such as myself out of the marketplace which leaves the consumer to fend for themselves or to be vulnerable to fraudsters who prey on the uneducated and elederly consumers.
I do not doubt that the intent of this new regulation is well-meaning, but morality and ethical behavior cannot be regulated. The truly big money issues which have been crippling our economy and our country does not come from the lack of regulation...it comes from not having the current regs enforced. Please look at daily market manipulation which is far more detrimental to the economy and all investors.
I urge you to reconsider and make the decision NOT to force additional hardships attached to the "fiduciary standards". This is a slippery slope with no bottom.
Janet L Heitzig, CLU, ChFC