August 24, 2004
I urge you to WITHDRAW your proposal to exempt broker/dealers or any other financial organizations from the requirements set forth in the Securities Act of 1940 when they offer fee-based brokerage programs.
It is contrary to the publics interests to be offered financial advice without the advisor being subject to regulatory oversight. It is also a specious argument that any financial advice could be incidental to the sale of products. That would be the same as saying that the knowledge required to fill a medical prescription properly is incidental to the sale of that drug and therefore pharmacists need not be licensed because theyre merely selling products.
Companies should not be allowed to offer financial ADVICE as distinct from sales recommendations AT ALL unless they are willing to conform to the higher standards implied by that. It is clear from the marketing efforts of such firms that they are positioning themselves as advice-givers rather than sellers of products.
If a company is PRIMARILY in the business of selling products, it should not be allowed by regulators to market itself as an advisor if it isnt willing to be regulated as such - that is FALSE ADVERTISING, which presumably is still frowned upon by the SEC.