August 17, 2010
RE: File No: 4-606
Dear Ms. Murphy:
I am a financial planner and a registered investment advisor with the State of California (CRD #139300) and have been involved in over 2,000 financial matters in my career. In my practice, I have been servicing clients under a fiduciary standard of care for 14 years, but I also apply my Christian standards as well. I know better, and so I should do better.
I strongly urge you to extend the Advisers Act fiduciary standard of care to all financial professionals who provide personalized investment advice to retail clients.
It is unfair to consumers that the quality of advice they receive from a financial professional is dependent on the professionals registration or title. Its no wonder consumers are confused, and do not know whether their financial professional is looking out for their best interests. I can tell you from my personal experience that adhering to the fiduciary standard of care and putting my clients interests ahead of my own benefits my clients and my business.
Providing financial advice with fiduciary accountability insures that the services consumers receive will be in their best interests, not in the best interests of the financial intermediary or his or her company. Not applying these standards to all who offer financial products would be a disservice to the public and allow the confusion and bad advice that sales-focused product pushers engender today.
I urge you to recommend to Congress that it is in the public interest to extend the fiduciary standard to broker-dealers who provide personalized investment advice, and to initiate rulemaking to achieve this long overdue consumer reform.
I appreciate your attention to this matter, and hope you have a great day
Burt Williamson, MBA, CFP®