Subject: Standards of Conduct for Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers
From: Maev Hewitt

July 21, 2017

Securities and Exchange Commission,
I urge this administration to not just keep the SEC's fiduciary rule, but strengthen it.
Financial professionals are paid well to give informed, trustworthy advice on matters such as investment. Like any other professionals paid for their services, they owe their clients advice in the clients' best interests. An honest mistake is one thing - intentionally misleading clients to line their own pockets is another - in fact, it is totally unethical and should be criminal.
Unfortunately, since some “advisers” who work for broker-dealers are not always required to meet that standard, and some may even be paid in ways that reward them for putting the interests of the firm ahead of the best interests of the customer, we need laws to prevent and punish this unethical behavior.
By recommending inferior products that pay the advisor more when they recommend them, unscrupulous financial advisors have cost investors tens of billions of dollars in investment returns each year. They have basically stolen this money from investors, and it has to be stopped through legislation with severe penalties.
The Securities and Exchange Commission must adopt new rules, modeled on the Department of Labor’s rule for retirement investment advice, that require brokers to act in their customers’ best interests and firms to reduce conflicts that undermine that standard. Investors don’t need more boilerplate disclosures, they need real protections from industry practices that put their financial well-being at risk.
It is a shame that these codes of conduct must be enshrined in law, but sadly, enough financial advisors have acted against their clients' interests and cost them so much money, that we must now make such practices illegal, with serious penalties for those who break these laws.
Maev Hewitt