August 9, 2010
I'd like to make two simple points:
1. The authentic fiduciary standard, as currently defined in the 1940 Advisors Act, is the standard that is in the best interest of investors and should be preserved. This is the "bright line" standard that should be heavily communicated to the investor community so that it is clear that anyone who provides advice as to the selection of any investment must put the client's interest ahead of their own and disclose all conflicts in advance.
2. It is hard to comprehend how lawmakers and regulators persist in advocating the notion that a financial professional can be both an advisor and a broker to the same client. This abhorent conflict was observed in the "Merrill Lynch" rule and was also observed in certain versions of the House bill leading up to Dodd-Frank. This concept only serves to further confuse the investor community.
Surely we can require that financial professionals serve either as advisors (with the greater responsibility associated with the authentic fiduciary standard) or as brokers, but not both. There is a place in the investor community to provide both services - but the SEC must ensure that the distinction between the two is made abundantly clear.
Put investor interests first by finally make the line between advisor and broker absolutely clear.