February 1, 2005
In regards to the SEC plan to adopt a final rule that would expand the disclosure requirements for brokerage firms using fee-based programs and its proposal to expand on what is solely incidental brokerage advice not subject to the
Investment Advisers Act of 1940, I highly urge the SEC adopt a complete withdrawal of the proposed rule, not just a revision. The general investing public does not understand the difference between a fee-based brokerage account where there is no fiduciary duty and a fee-based advisory account where there is complete fiduciary duty. Many of the current conflict of issues cited by the SEC and NASD between advisors and investors are eliminated under the fiduciary standard. Allowing fee-based brokerage accounts to continue without a fiduciary duty is a disservice to the investing public. Additional disclosure is not the answer, since the current amount of disclosure from multiple prospectuses to investment advisory agreements to arbitration agreements provide so much material for an investor to absorb that it is nearly impossible to believe that investors would be more informed with additional disclosure. Investors deserve to be treated with their best interest in mind i.e. fiduciary standard, not just being placed in suitable investments i.e. brokerage standard.
Thank you for your consideration,
Christopher Rich, CFP