January 15, 2005
The reproposed rule concerns the exception which excludes broker dealers from regulation under the Investment Advisors Act. At the root of the issue is the question - To whom does the Advisors Act apply?
Investment Advisor is really a misnomer for the Financial Planners who are regulated by the Investment Advisors Act. The Financial planners work begins with the individual and his goals. The planners role is much larger than suggesting why a particular investment vehicle would benefit an individual. It isnt always about investments. It can be about lifestyle changes that allow an individual to deploy existing money in more personally fulfilling ways - like cash flow analysis and budget building. It can be about safeguarding existing assets and lifestyles - like advice on insurance, asset allocation, legal documents. Financial planning can be about preserving some quality of life asset for a disabled child who otherwise would experience a barren life - like Special Needs Trusts and life planning. Financial Planning starts with lives and life events like college, marriage, divorce, aging, death, disability, and dreams. Investment advice is just one piece to the puzzle. Financial Planning is about helping people to make their assets support their needs and wants. I believe that this is the spirit in which the Advisors Act should be interpreted. If a service provider uses a moniker that leads a common person to the perception that this is the degree of personal service provided, then that provider should be regulated by the Advisors Act.