August 2, 2010
Regarding the SEC proposal to subject registered representatives and their broker dealers to a fiduciary standard, I strongly object to the imposition of such a standard.
I am a registered representative, and as such, I am highly regulated by a variety of governing bodies, and am held to a high level of suitability standards as I perform the vital function of helping my clients navigate complex financial waters.
I, and my collegues, perform a vital function for many middle Americans who have need of trained assistance in making investment decisions. These majority of Americans have modest amounts to invest, often in small, incremental stages, and are well served by registered reps who recieve a small commission for a disproportionately large amount of work.
I do a thorough fact finder, discuss and ascertain risk tolerance, review their past experiance with investing, discuss a wide variety of financial and investment options. I then have to complete suitability information which is reviewed by my broker dealer, and update that periodically as I regularly review with my clients.
To add yet another layer of regulation in implementing a fiduciary standard would add unnecessarily to the time and expense of servicing my clients, while exposing me to a vague, ill defined "best interests" standard that leaves me open to liability indefinatley. In order to justify this increased cost and exposure I would have to increase my revenue stream, thereby likely excluding many people who have only modest resources and needs. These people would be left without informed, trained professionals to counsel them because the regulatory environment either forced representatives out of the business or priced them out of that market.
In conclusion, the fiduciary standard applied to registered representatives would not serve the investing public well. It would likely destroy a valuable resource for investors, and would be an unproductive and unneeded burden on those reps who remained.
Craig Hardy - registered representative (25 years)