Subject: Standards of Conduct for Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers
From: Margaret Lange Freud

July 22, 2017

Securities and Exchange Commission, When investors turn to financial professionals for advice, they expect and deserve advice that’s in their best interests. But 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. My own retirement was profoundly affected by "advisers" at Oppenheimer & Co who put their interests ahead of mine, investing me at just 3 years before retirement in high-risk investments and ignoring my anxiety about the market and my repeated requests to take me out of the market, losing 40% of my investment worth in the 2008 crash. My ability to sue them was nullified by my limited resources, financially and otherwise. The right to sue others, in this country, is almost completely determined by one's ability to pay for legal representation, which in most cases is extremely expensive and beyond the reach of the average middle-class person. Investors lose out on tens of billions of dollars in investment returns each year when these conflicted advisers recommend inferior investment products that pay them more. I urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt new rules, modeled on the Department of Labor’s rule for retirement investment advice, requiring brokers to act in their customers’ best interests and requiring 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. Margaret Lange Freud