January 18, 2005
As a multi-decade fee-only financial planner and consumer advocate, I urge the SEC to equalize their regulatory oversight on all professional financial planners and mandate investment advisory registration regardless of compensation method. The SEC has the responsibility to protect consumers from fraud and related abuses in the investment community. This protection must provide clear and straightforward guidelines for comparison shopping among investment professionals. It is imperative that the public has a simple way to differentiate the salesperson from the fiduciary. IA registration is one strong step in this direction. The mechanism is already in place and brokers will have a choice to follow the rules to be considered a financial planner/advisor or stay in their original niche as a salesperson. No one will be forced out of business. There will simply be more honesty in the marketplace.