August 6, 2010
I am a registered rep and registered investment advisor rep. I have held series 6,63,65, 7 licenses for @ 30 yrs. I attend several compliance meetings each year and have private office inspections as well. I believe the Dodd-Frank Act is an unnecessary level of regulation that will be inneffective, expensive to the public both in terms of cost of implementation to the taxpayer and additional costs born by the consumer, and will create a never ending environment for more absurd litigation.
The Dodd-Frank Act permits the SEC to require that all broker-dealers be held to the same legal fiduciary requirement investment advisers have when providing advice to clients. Should the SEC choose to use that authority, the fiduciary duty as defined by the Dodd-Frank Act would require that all broker-dealers be held to a legal and vaguely defined standard "to act in the best interest of the customer without regard to the financial or other interest of the broker, dealer, or investment adviser providing the advice."
The Act does not define what the rules are for compliance with a legal "best interest" standard - thus subjecting registered representatives to the potential of never ending lawsuits. For example, is "best" the cheapest recommended product? The "best" premium relative to the benefit of the product? The product with the "best" historic underwriting and service standards? Is it the one from the carrier with the "best" rating? The fiduciary standard in essence adds a vague legal liability standard that looks back (sometimes after many years) and is enforced after the fact by the SEC or trial lawyers who have perfect vision in hindsight. Another shortcoming is that there are no limits of liability that I am aware of in the act (such as malpractice limits, or public entity limits) that would protect the very large numbers of professional, ethical, sound practicioners who work to protect the integrity of their clients on every transaction each and every day.
I am sure that the authors of Dodd-Frank believe that some form of additional supervision in our industry is needed. Perhaps so, but this act is poorly thought out and grossly underdefined in the areas that matter the most. It would simply be irresponsible to allow this to be enacted. I encourage you to stop this now.