September 15, 2004
I urge you to withdraw, not amend the rule as proposed. The rule proposes two distinct standards of conduct - one for investment advisors and one for broker dealers. Since we have experience with both the NASD and the SEC as supervisory authorities, I can not emphasize strongly enough the differences in disclosure requirements, fiduciary standards, disclosure of conflicts of interest and compensation, and advertising standards expected of both entities.
Having witnessed first hand the abuses of the rule by major broker/dealers I am extremely concerned that the adoption of this rule will perpetuate such marketing practices. The simple requirement of requiring an advisor to provide a prospective client an ADV Part II and other basic disclosure documents places an unfair burden on the advisor under the proposed rule. Clients cannot understand why we have to provide such extensive documentation when they open an account with the advisory since they never had to be burdened with such details under their brokerage accounts. Broker Dealers provide advertising material, illustrated performance, and reports that do not come close to meeting SEC rule standards. Broker Dealer Reps market their services as financial advisors, wealth counselors, and financial planners without having either the credentials or knowledge requirements placed on IARs.