August 18, 2010
RE: File No: 4-606
Dear Ms. Murphy:
I am a certified financial planner and an investment adviser representative. I have been servicing clients under a fiduciary standard of care for many 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.
Let me ask you this: Do doctors, nurses, and attorneys have a fiduciary duty to their clients? Absolutely. The financial services industry is the ONLY industry in which "advice" is muddled up. Today, anyone can called themselves a financial planner, a financial adviser, planner, adviser, etc.. Where is the standard of care? Let's get this straightened out now. Let's get everyone who wants to be in this business on a level playing field.
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.
Luke Xiong, CFP