August 18, 2010
I am an independent Investment Advisor Representative for a broker/dealer RIA and have been providing financial planning, investment and insurance advice to my clients for over 15 years. I have had over 300 clients during my professional career and I'm currently helping 40 of them manage over $15,000,000.
While engaging in the financial planning aspects of my job, I am able to see and discuss all of the various investment and insurance products that my clients currently own. Over the years I have been sickened by some of the overly hyped, poorly performing, or totally unsuitable products that had been previously sold to my new clients.
I am also totally aghast with the misleading nomenclature and promises that some of the radio financial talk shows are allowed to use with the innocent, and in many cases, gullible public. Since I am aware of the type of products they are truly alluding to, I hate to hear how they are being sold over the airwaves with only a quick disclosure of - this product may not be suitable for everyone, please check with your personal financial advisor - at the beginning or end of the show.
Adhering to the fiduciary standard of care has never limited 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, avoiding or fairly managing conflicts of interest.
Providing financial advice with fiduciary accountability does not reduce services to middle-Americans in any way. These are the people that make up 90% of my client base. It does, however, ensure that the services consumers receive will be in their best interests, rather than the best interests of some financial intermediary or his/her company.
I urge you to recommend to Congress that anyone providing financial advice to the public should be held to the fiduciary standard. This includes broker-dealers (and their employees/representatives), insurance companies (and their employees/representatives), and others who provide personalized investment advice.