February 1, 2005
I strongly urge the Commission to withdraw the proposed ruling which exempts broker-dealers from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. In the current climate, there is nothing more important than having the SEC uphold the standards of fiduciary responsibility. Eliot Spitzer addressed the specific issue of fiduciary responsibility in a speech he gave on Jan 31, 2005 at the Press Club in D.C.
If a broker-dealer holds itself out as a financial advisor, the public has a right to demand these individuals be held to the same fiduciary standards as Registered Investment Advisors. The standard of incidental to the brokerage relationship means the public continues to
be misled when sold fee-based programs by large broker-dealers. The public assumes broker-dealers are impartial but this is not necessarily true.
There is no reason why the public should have to deal with two separate standards of conduct in the financial planning industry.
I urge you to withdraw this proposed ruling and its resulting exemption for broker-dealers from the investment advisory rules.