August 16, 2010
I very much disagree that fiduciary standard has protected consumers better. This fiduciary standard looks back and enforces breaches retroactively through SEC enforcement or private lawsuits. The suitability standard looks forward and tries to prevent harm to consumers through ongoing and frequent FINRA and broker-dealer audits and compliance processes. I am regulated enough I do not want a new liability ridden fiduciary duty.
Compliance costs me and my clients time and money. Adding more regulations means another layer of compliance, with more costs to me and my clients. I have several professional licenses, including Life, Health, and Series 6 and Series 63. I have continuing education for these licenses. In addition I have my broker-dealer continuing education annual requirements. In addition I have examinations that I must pass. I've been in the financial services industry for over 21 years, professionally serving my clients, with no issues, problems, or complaints. Excellent professional experience and behavior must be recognized with compliance. The compliance procedures are currently costly and time-consuming. Many of these compliance measures are frivolous, and don't help me, my Agency, or my clients.
Will moving to a fee only model result in better advice? Absolutely not Will I be forced to charge a fee to protect myself from liability? Can my clients afford to pay fees, upfront? Doubtful Will my clients be willing to pay fees? Doubtful What will happen to my errors and omissions insurance? Increase substantially Liabilities may become overwhelming and force many of us out of business.