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Merrill Lynch Rule and Senior Designation

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May 20, 2007 12:36 pm

Here are two topics which will affect some of you with respect to how you deal with your clients going forward. This month's issue of Registered Rep had the Merrill Lynch rule as its cover story and the most recent on-line article deals with senior designations.

I expect other state regulators to follow Massachusetts' lead on this matter (senior designations).


May 20, 2007 2:41 pm

This is good and long needed. You know how many seniors I see who hold 20 yr index annuitties they bought from some schmo whose card says CSA

May 20, 2007 4:03 pm

As a person who is dogmatically committed to markets, I am always uncomfortable with another expected round of regulation. It generally means a bunch of rules being written by people who have very little familiarity with the business that they're regulating. (This was particularly evident in the Spitzer reforms of the early 2000s.

That having been said, there is a significant logic in putting some controls in place. In addition, it makes sense to have the CFP and CFA organizations start to serve in a self regulatory role for financial advisors, particularly as the industry is so fragmented and this one of the most significant first steps in that direction...

May 20, 2007 5:30 pm

Thanks for the comments so far.

One of my biggest pet peeves with any/all regulators is a lack of understanding as to what they're regulating or attempting to regulate.

All regulators mean well but I have seen too many "new rules" put into place to address problems which were/are limited to certain firms and or a few individuals who went way too far. Some of those new rules adversely affect the entire industry and add extra non value added costs. (looks like Cox put the Merrill Lynch Rule ruling on the back burner for another 4 months requesting additional opinions from the industry and the public)

On the senior designation stuff, I support special qualifications (training, supervision, certification) for persons who hold themselves out to be "senior specialists."