Forget the "customer first" talking point hyperbole, it's a proprietary VA model and take it or leave it for "independent" advisor's. Imagine leaving a wirehouse for this? RJ management knows best for customers? I have bridge to sell you!
The further end of the prospectus system is at hand if this comes off. Small brokers are a thing of the past and the public access and hostility will only grow when that happens. Once firms compete on prospectus pricing the same vicious cycle that took over stock commissions and trading begins. This is worse, if anyone charges more on a buy and hold product they will be labeled "abusive" in the Spitzer/Boggle driven culture that runs through this whole blundering, hypocritical reaction of Averitt and company. RJF is making this throw "bone" effort due to the major regulatory hits such as the Herula case and various pricing disputes and settlements.
Really, really dumb management, betrayal of business plan for everyone sold on "independent" and reflective of how our business gets worse in response to the abuse of others. Someone does something wrong you accuse and collect off the more virtuous survivors and those who are still in the game. It's very cynical; they'll whine about losses on this move but once the proprietary machines roles on it will be raping and pillaging advisor's and customers in the name "the publics best interest". RJFS should now be considered a wirehouse and the best thing for independent advisors everywhere would be for a 1000 RJFS contractors to resign and this third string management to be wiped off the planet.