August 17, 2010
RE: File No: 4-606
I am a certified financial planner CFP and I personally manage 250 CLIENTS handling $30 MILLION in assets under management. In my practice, I have been servicing clients under a fiduciary standard of care for 8 years. 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.
It shocks me that our industry allows JR advisors to make a 7% commission on a product that is usually not the best selection for the client. On a $1 Million investment that broker makes $70k... I, as a veteran to the industry, often receive these clients as reassigned clients... it is sad because they were usually sold a bill of goods, their rep made piles of money and they failed out or quit and left the mess for met to deal with. This way of doing business is not good for my cleints, not good for me and it is horrible for our profession.
My clients recognize and understand that the advice I give them is in their best interests, because: my loyalty is to them first I will advise them with utmost good faith I will manage any conflicts of interests that may harm them and disclose those conflicts to them I get paid for the advice I give them and the investments I select for them I am required to choose from the best investments available keeping their interests first and I can charge a fee or commissions based on their needs and preferences.
Adhering to the fiduciary standard of care does not limit my ability to provide my clients with appropriate services and products. As a fiduciary, I can choose to operate in a business model that is best for my client. The key is fully disclosing, and avoiding and fairly managing conflicts of interest. Providing financial advice with fiduciary accountability does not reduce services to middle Americans. It 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.
I urge you to recommend to Congress that it is necessary and appropriate in the public interest and for the protection of consumers to extend the fiduciary standard to broker-dealers, who provide personalized investment advice, and to initiate a rulemaking to achieve this long overdue consumer reform.
Robert Martino, CFP®, CRPC®
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Practitioner
Advanced Financial Advisor
Business Financial Advisor
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
100 Motor Parkway, Suite 150, 5th Floor Hauppauge, NY 11788
Office: 631.930.3097 x2970 Direct Dial 631.574.2970
Mobile: 631.742.0662 Fax: 631.582.4243