August 24, 2010
The proposed fiduciary standard the SEC is considering will not serve to protect the general public any better than enforcing current suitability standards and monitoring financial professionals will. However, it will serve to disenfranchise small and medium size investors, as advisors will be quite reluctant to risk being second-guessed when markets do not perform up to standards and small investors demand to know why they lost money. The risk for the advisor is that he/she will be accused of not investing customer's money wisely, despite the fact that an investment carries risks in keeping with the investor's risk tolerance. The small investor then, will find it difficult if not impossible to get personalized advice and will have to rely on popular media which have no fiduciary or suitability standards at all for advice. This proposal is an unduly high standard approach that is akin to shooting mosquitoes with an elephant gun. The losers in the end, if this standard is applied, will be the small to medium investor (those with less than $250,000 or so to invest).