February 7, 2005
I sat in a presentation by Elliot Spitzer recently where he said that the Bush Administration is working hard to maintain the status quo.
I believe the status quo is deceptive at best. The panel that is deciding on the Broker-Dealer Rule sees the same advertisements as I do. What are the Brokerage firms advertising today to garner business? Answer: Their advisors will provide broad services to meet their clients goals. This sounds very similar to the role of a Certified Financial Planner. Can any of us really believe that these services are incidental? It is all the advertisements talk about. The brokers claim that these advisor and counselor services are incidental today and they will maintain that they are incidental in the future.
In order for the consumer to be able to differentiate between an advisor who has a fiduciary duty and one that does not, the SEC will have to very precisely define what is incidental. Non-investment oriented advertisements will have to be banned if the firms stock brokers will not register as a RIAs. Please re-write a law that allows firms that truly sell themselves as stock brokers and are in the business of transacting trades to remain exempt from a fiduciary duty. The business cards with the word financial advisor and counselor need to go if the advisor will not become an RIA. The advertisement that we all see that detail these firms financial planning services need to go if the firms will not become RIAs.
Please do the right thing and protect the consumer over big brokerage firms that have already proven that they do not care about the health of the financial markets or the little guy.
I appreciate your consideration.