August 24, 2010
I disagree that the fiduciary stndard has protected consumers better. Basically the fiduciary standard looks back and enforces breaches retroactively through SEC enforcement or provate lawsuits.
Tje suitability standard governing broker-dealers and registered reprsentatives is a robust and heavily enforced standard.
Compliance costs-both in terms of finances and time-are high, and those costs are eventually felt by clients. Adding another layer of regulation means another layer of compliance, and even more cost to clients.
I hold a series 7 as well as life and variable licenses. I am auited by compliance annually. Reguires to complete on going continuing education and ethics education annually. My office staff spend approximatley 4 hours per week dealing with compliance issues. Additional standards would be redundant and costly and would not add consumer protection. Time spent on compliance is less time to spend with clients.
As a NAFIA member I believe I am already acting in the "best interest" of m clients, the Act does not define what the rules are for compliance with a legal "best interest" standard- thus subjecting registered representatives to the potential of never ending lawsuits.
For example is "best" the cheapest recommended product? The "best" premium relative to the benefit of the product? The product with the "best" historic underwriting and service standards? Is it the one from the carrier with the "gbest" rating? The fiduciary standard in essence adds a vague legal liability standard that looks beck (sometimes after many years) and is enforced after the fact by the SEC or trial lawyers who have perfect vision in heingsight.
I aks that you do not impose a misguided fiduciary standard on registered representative.