August 24, 2004
May I urge you to withdraw rather than ammend the proposed rule offering broker/dealers exemption from the Investment Advior Act of 1940 when offering fee based investment advisory services. I believe that the man on the street will have NO understanding that a difference exists in the standards of conduct and fudiciary standards. Thus an unlevel playing field is created in which those under lower standards with the resulting lower ethical and financial standards are actually given an advantage in their ability to attract and work with unsuspecting clients. I am sure that it would be the hope of the broker-dealer community to project to the public that they provide the same level of service, without mention that there were differences in the standards. I can see no advantage to the public nor to those being served by the financial planning profession for there to be two different standards for those providing the same fee advisory service.
Again, I urge you to carefully consider this matter and to withdraw this rule and any subsequent proposals that would lower the the ethical and fudiciary standards and give one potentially less-qualified group preferential treatment in their ability to attract and serve the same potential client base.