May 13, 2018
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the best interest proposal.
This proposal is much better than the DOL Fiduciary Rule. Commissioner Kara Stein is wrong when she says investors have clamored for a fiduciary rule. The Progressive Party consisting of the AARP, Unions and alleged consumer activist groups tried to ram an illegal rule down the throats of consumers. Luckily a court stopped this heist of consumer rights.
Currently, there are three broad ways for a consumer to do business: through a fiduciary, an investment broker or an insurance agent. The 4-page CRS is an excellent way to explain to each choice. Perhaps a paragraph explaining that insurance products are regulated by states and most often brokered might be one addition. Since the SEC is not the regulator for insurance, this may guide states to form an additional page for those who broker insurance and investments. This may help coordinate with states who are concerned this law will take away their power to regulate efficiently.
After giving this some thought, you might consider banning the term "best interest" and call this a Investor Protection Act or something along those lines. The confusion comes into play because fiduciaries commonly use the term "best interest". While fiduciary investing mitigates conflicts and must act prudently, it falsely claims "best interest" when in fact brokerage services are often less expensive and more profitable. Perhaps both sides should drop this verbiage.
Our business offers fiduciary services, investment services and insurance services. We have talked to our clients and they want all three areas offered. The idea that every client wants and needs fiduciary services is ridiculous. I will be retiring in a few years and I in no way, shape or form want the government to dictate that I must purchase fiduciary services. Clients want the opportunity to purchase fiduciary services or brokered investment and insurance services or some or all three of these choices.
I commend the SEC for writing a law that helps consumers understand their choices and preserves those choices. The increased disclosures and rules will make for a needed and much better rule for consumers than the DOL fiduciary rule. Thank you.Robert Shaw, Owner, Shaw Financial Services