August 24, 2004
The proposed rule expempting from registration under the advisors act, broker dealers who are holding themselves out to be both advisors and financial planners should be withdrawn.
All one needs to do is view the advertisements airing for all the major firms to see that they are holding themselves out to the public to be advisors offering a wide range of advisory and financial planning services. Were the SEC to view any of these ads by an independent firm, that firm would be required to register as an investment advisor.
The Merrill Lynchs of the world need to play by the same rules when they are trying to compete for the same clients and claim they are offering the same services as registered investment advisors.
From Merrill Lynch website: Working side-by-side with you, your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor sees your life in total. Helps all the pieces work together. Helps the whole become something greater. Find a Financial Advisor and learn how to make Total Merrill work for you.
From Morgan Stanley website: Careful planning is key to achieving your financial goals. Whatever your goals may be from sending children to college and retiring comfortably to passing your hard-earned estate assets on to loved ones our Financial Advisors will evaluate your situation and help you determine which strategies are right for you.
You could pick any of a dozen retail brokerage sites or commercials and come to the same conclusion.
Level the playing field. These brokers are claiming to be advisors, even calling themselves advisors and yet are asking to be exempted from registration.