August 2, 2010
As a securities licensed registered representative I believe the SEC's fiduciary standard rules for registered rep's is misguided. The suitability standard currently used is effective. Abuses and wrongdoing are prevented by current audits and oversight.
In the last 25 years I have spent countless hours on testing for my different licenses and professional designations. I have seen the establishment of broker-dealer compliance departments and also the hiring of compliance officers within my local office. I am examined every year for my knowledge of issues that are established to provide safety and fairness to the investment public. Every transaction I make with a client, or potential client, is audited by my compliance officer.
My experience as a fee based planner is that most people can not, and will not, hire a fee based planner, they simple can't afford it. Just as the majority of individuals and families do not have a Will because they can't afford an attorney, they can't afford a fee based planner. This ruling will drive people away from getting competent financial advice not towards it.
This ruling will drive up costs to the broker dealers and the registered rep's and will eventually drive up the cost to my clients. Also, since the fiduciary standard looks back and enforces breaches retroactively through SEC enforcement or private lawsuits many advisors will simply get out of the business because the liability will be too great.
I understand that registered representatives need to be held to a fiduciary duty when providing advice or recommendations to clients. I agree with that and I believe that the current suitability standards do just that.
Thank you for your consideration.