August 24, 2010
I want to express my opinion that the effort by some in the profession to extend the fiduciary standard to those groups currently using a suitability standard is mostly a matter of a turf war which some are disguising as consumer protection. After over forty years in the profession of securities and insurance I find that the majority of professional advisors do place their client's interest ahead of their own and the marketplace favors those that do. Ultimately whether an advisor is compensated by commissions, flat fees or asset based fees they will only survive if they consider the best interests of their clients and some in each of these compensation models do not do so. Regulation that favors one type of advisor model will not change the dynamic that there will be good well intended advisors and poor and deceptive advisors.
In the end people desperately need advice and I worry that more regulation simply sends a message that investors should worry about the integrity of their advisor thus further creating a fear to do what they need to do. Further it may prevent many very good professionals from providing the services that people need.