The following Letter Type C, or variations thereof, was submitted by individuals or entities.
Letter Type B:
Dear Mr. Fields:
As an independent financial advisor, I greatly support the SEC’s goals in proposing the new Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI). Reg BI establishes a "best interest" standard of conduct applicable to me and my firm when I make recommendations to my clients. In other words, I may not place my interests or the interests of my firm ahead of the interest of my retail clients. I believe that now, even without a legal or statutory best interest standard of care, I make recommendations to my client with their best interests in mind. While I am a professional and expect to get paid for my services, as any professional does, my recommendations are not currently motivated by my own financial gain and this will continue whether Reg BI becomes a final rule or not. Therefore, I support the SEC’s goals and appreciate the careful thought that went into formulating the proposal.
I also appreciate the SEC’s responsiveness to previous industry suggestions during the initial request for information by Chairman Clayton. I value the opportunity to submit these comments regarding the Reg BI and stand ready to assist the SEC in determining the best way for me to assist my clients in understanding the various ways I may work with them and that I will make recommendations in their best interest.
In particular, I encourage the SEC to consider the following:
Customer Relationship Summary Form: Reg BI would require me to present my clients with a Customer Relationship Summary (CRS) at the time of my recommendation. I appreciate the SEC’s efforts to boil down difficult to understand information for clients in a short document that will help facilitate a conversation between me and my clients. Reg BI would require the CRS to contain information on costs and fees, the different ways my client can work with me, the duties I owe to them, and any potentially existing conflicts of interest. I urge the SEC to conduct additional research into the types of information clients want and need at that point in their relationship with a financial advisor. I also encourage the SEC to develop a CRS template that my firm can use to help me create a useful and informative CRS that provides clients accurate and helpful information. To the extent the SEC creates a template form for firms to use, this will cut back on potential investor confusion and will keep firms and their legal counsels from adding too much legalese to the document, which would interfere with my ability to use the form to have a meaningful conversation with my client.
Titling: The Reg BI proposal would not allow an individual who is only registered with a broker-dealer and not also with a registered investment advisor to use the term "adviser" or "advisor." As a dually registered professional, registered both with a broker-dealer and a registered investment advisor, and as a professional who holds and maintains the necessarily licenses and qualifications to provide both types of services, I support this restriction. Too often I see individuals who do not have the appropriate qualifications and training refer to themselves as "advisor" or a variation thereof. As someone who is subject to regulation by both FINRA and the SEC and who must maintain my credentials through following the rules, completing continuing education requirements, and attending an annual compliance meeting, I feel strongly that those individuals who are not subject to the same rules should not represent themselves with the term "advisor." I urge the SEC to implement this portion of Reg BI as proposed and allow dually registered individuals to continue to use the term.
Investor Access to Products and Services: Lastly, I urge the SEC to pay close attention to the cost-benefit analysis conducted with regard to Reg BI and ensure that any additional regulatory requirements are tailored closely to their intended purpose and do not result in additional requirements that will ultimately limit my ability to work with my clients and will negatively impact their access to a variety of products and services I can recommend to help meet their needs.
I urge the SEC to consider my comments as you continue to develop the Regulation Best Interest proposal.Sincerely,