August 3, 2010
I have been a registered rep for 20 years in a small community of 8,000, 18,000 in the county. I hold a 6 and 63 licenses as well as my Life, Variable Annuity and health license. I am not a Planner, nor intend to be come a planner unless the SEC requires. I have approx. 1,200 clients on my book, 400 of those have an investment in mutual funds or Variable annuities. My clients average annuity holding us $65,000, and mutual fund is $18,000.
The proposed Fiduciary Standard as I understand it will require me to be a fee only registered representative. My client have never experienced a fee only system, nor will most of the clients even want to participate in a fee only system and I can't blame them, the fee charged on my small accounts would have to be greater than the expenses they are now paying in 12B1 fees. If I have to give up my 12B1 trails, then you will in essence reduce my income by $8,000+ per year, that pays the bulk of my office expenses. I'm sure the Client with $5,000 in a UTMA for their child would be more than happy to pay $25,50, or more in planning fees that I would have to charge to recoup the loss of 12B1 fees.
By adding this additional layer of over sight and Fiduciary standard, you will increase my cost of doing business. Not only requiring me to have additional designations, but will also increase the time, and effort that ALREADY must spent to make sure my files are in compliance, plus get ready for office inspections. In the last 2 years, I have had 3 or 4 office inspections as it is, now you will be imposing additional regulatory requirement and inspections, yet I will not be compensated adequately to provide the sane level of service to my investment clients, much less the time hours required by me or my staff to stay compliant. If all my clients had $100,000 or more in mutual funds, I would already have chosen to be a Planner. As it is, I have 3 clients with account values of greater than $100,000. Moving to a fee only model will not result in my clients receiving, better or unbiased advise.
If the proposed Fiduciary Standard is enforced, I will have to decide if I will remain in the securities business if the liabilities become greater than they are already. I will not be the only agent with the same concern. If all the agents/representatives in small towns across the country have a similar concerns as I do, who is going to provide the services to small account holders in the future?
I understand there has to be a level of oversight and compliance, but I am not in agreement that more is needed for me to provide the current level of care that I already provide my clients.