August 23, 2004
The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that it is reopening for public comment a controversial rule exempting broker-dealers from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 when offering fee-based brokerage programs.
I urge the Commission to WITHDRAW, not amend, the rule proposal. I believes the rule is harmful to consumers by creating two different standards of conduct for persons offering financial planning services: a higher fiduciary standard for registered investment advisers and a lower one under NASD suitability rules. The rule also exempts, in effect, brokers from being required to disclose conflicts of interest in connection with the offer of financial planning services.