The Securities and Exchange Commission has begun to seek comment on the fiduciary standard of care that broker-dealers and investment advisers are to provide customers in giving advice about investing in securities.

Studying – and then d efining and implementing – the proper standard of fiduciary care is required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which President Obama signed into law one week ago, on July 21.

The SEC is requesting public input, comments, and data on the effectiveness of existing standards of care for brokers-dealers and investment advisers, and whether there are gaps, shortcomings, or overlaps in the current legal or regulatory standards.

"Broker-dealers and investment advisers provide critical financial services to millions of American investors," said SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro, in a statement. "A system that fairly and effectively regulates these market participants is essential to protecting investors. We look forward to receiving comments from the public on these important issues."

The public comment period will remain open for 30 days, after the comment request is published in the Federal Register.

Comments can be submitted here.