August 24, 2010
Currently, I understand the SEC is considering applying a new fiduciary standard on all registered representatives. Let me begin by stating that I agree investors should be given proper guidance from their advisors, and we, as advisors, should always keep the best interests of our clients foremost in our minds. What concerns me more than anything is the definition of "best interest of the client" in the eyes of the proposed standard. I mean if I sit down with a client, and do a thorough job of fact finding, gauging risk tolerance, and investment time horizon, then properly advising a strategy to utilize an investment or insurance product issued by a company who has been given a top rating from multiple ratings services, wouldn't that be in the best interest of the client? Then, what if the investment or insurance product underperforms due to factors beyond my control (interest rate changes/mortality factor adjustments, etc..), and some plaintiff lawyer decides in hindsight (which always perfect) that I am liable. I am afraid this type of standard will open a pandora's box of issues for our industry, which will ultimately force many reputable advisors out of the business, and thus create greater problems for investors finding proper advice. At a time when the government should be working on ways to improve businesses in various sectors, this will do exactly the opposite.
Thank you for your time, and my prayers for wisdom are with you.