April 9, 2008
I am writing to express my concerns about the SEC's proposal to amend Regulation S-P (Proposed Amendment).
An independent financial advisor can only be independent, if indeed he or she is not locked in to a particular broker dealer for life. At times throughout our careers, we may deem it necessary and prudent to our clients well being (as well as our own) to change our broker dealer affiliation. Changing a broker dealer affiliation is not without much thought, prayer and considerable consternation at times. But at all times the ultimate decision to move affiliations is to upgrade our offerings and options to clients and serve their best interest.
Our clients do business with us, not the broker dealer. Their relationship of trust, is with us, not the particular broker dealer we are affiliated with. As such, the limit to account portability freedoms does not serve the customers best interests, but those of the broker dealer in my opinion.
While it is necessary and prudent to protect client information from identity theft, to limit an independent advisors use of his or her clients information to facilitate a move between broker dealers seems a bit excessive in my humble opinion.
As a financial advisor working with retail clients, I know how important it is for investors to work with the financial advisor of their choice. When a financial advisor moves from one broker-dealer to another, it is essential for the clients to be immediately notified of this change in affiliation so that accounts can be quickly and efficiently transferred to the new firm. As a result, I support the Proposed Amendment's goals of promoting account portability and investor choice by allowing financial advisors to retain basic contact, account and position information after terminating their affiliation with a broker-dealer. I believe that this proposal strikes an appropriate balance between protecting investors from identify theft and preserving account portability and investor choice. Still the Proposed Amendment suffers from significant shortcomings that will severely limit its effectiveness. My concerns are summarized below:
. The exception offered by the Proposed Amendment should allow departing financial advisors the unfettered right to utilize the client's name, address, telephone number, e-mail information, and a general description of the client's account and products held to facilitate account portability and investor choice without interference from their prior broker-dealer. The Proposed Amendment falls short by making the exception available at the option of the prior broker-dealer firm. The firm will act in it's own best interest many times, not the best interest of the client in my opinion.
. The Proposed Amendment does not address the need for financial advisors to retain customer information to respond to regulatory inquiries or to defend themselves against customer complaints made while at their old firms. The proposal should be amended to address this important and legitimate concern for financial advisors.
. The Proposed Amendment establishes the date of 'separation from employment' as the deadline for the departing financial advisor to provide the broker-dealer a written record of the information that will be disclosed to the new firm under the new exception. This language must be changed so that it accurately reflects the independent contractor status of financial advisors, like me, who are associated with independent broker-dealer firms.
. The Proposed Amendment's exception only applies to information use and sharing when representatives are transferring between broker-dealers and SEC-registered investment advisers, but not to or from state-registered advisers. This should be corrected by providing for a similar exception for state-registered advisers.
I believe these changes are essential to achieve the Proposed Amendment's goal of promoting account portability and investor choice. Therefore, I urge the SEC to make these important changes to the Proposed Amendment.
Mr. Shawn Brickler
Brickler Wealth Management, Inc.
301 N. Village Dr.
Centerville OH 45459