August 11, 2010
Would we go to a doctor that got paid by the medicine that he or she recommended? This is essentially what is happening in the brokerage world today. The brokers can sell any product as long as it is suitable for the investor. Many people qualified for million dollar mortgages a few years ago, but that was not really in their best interest. Fiduciary responsibility for brokers will simply make them act in the best interest of their clients. Which is something that the clients already think is happening. Fiduciary will also help slow the sale of these high cost annuities that only benefit the brokerage house. It will also weed out the weaker players in the advisory business which also have the highest cost products. However, a watered down fiduciary duty will only make the industry worse. We need strict rules to keep clients out of bad situations. A look at what the UK has done to protect clients would be a good model for the brokers.