August 26, 2010
Thank you for your attention to this matter of regulatory reform, and specifically the requirement of Financial Advisors to be held to a fiduciary standard. I have to weigh in against this change for a quite a few reasons of which I will mention just a few. First I have to ask the question as to exactly what is the problem we are trying to fix? From my vantage point the consumer is very well protected. Were I to attempt to defraud my clients, I would be subject to a whole host of fines, penalties and sanctions, not the least of which would come from the very companies that I represent. The companies I work with certainly do expect production, but never (never ) to the detriment of the client. Secondly, how is it reasonable or even actionable to hold out a "standard" which is not defined? That fact alone would cause the consumer more harm than good. Without a concrete definition, the meaninglessness of this leaves a consumer with a false sense of protection. Third, I think as an industry we are better than this suggests and really believe we can do a much more professional job for our clients (who happen also to be our neighbors, friends, fellow congregants, community members, and etc.)than this poorly conceived effort.
Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in on this subject and I would urge careful consideration. Perhaps the best approach can be borrowed from our trusted physcians and, first, do no harm.