August 26, 2010
RE: File No: 4-606
Dear Ms. Murphy:
As 2009 Chair of the Board of Directors of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, I had the opportunity to cross the country meeting with CFP® professionals and with consumers. My conversations confirmed the Rand Report findings that consumers do not understand the differing duties of care provided by their financial advisors. They are shocked to learn that not every advisors is required to put the clients interest ahead of his or her own.
I am a financial planner and own a Registered Investment Advisor firm in Bloomfield Hills Michigan serving 200 clients and with $250,000,000 assets under management. In my practice, I have been servicing clients under a fiduciary standard of care for 28 years. I strongly urge you to extend the Advisers Act fiduciary standard of care to all financial professionals who provide personalized investment advice to retail clients.
It is unfair to consumers that the advice they receive from a financial professional is dependent on the professionals registration or title and to whom the advisor owes primary loyalty. A single, clear standard is needed for the delivery of financial advice to individuals.
My long experience validates that putting my clients best interests ahead of my own makes good business sense as well as good practice. My clients understand that the advice I give them is in their best interests, that my loyalty is to them first that I advise them with utmost good faith that I manage conflicts of interests that may harm them and disclose those conflicts to them that I am paid for the advice I give them and the investments I select for them that I am required to choose from the best investments available keeping their interests first. I can charge a fee or commissions based on their needs and preferences.
Adhering to the fiduciary standard of care does not limit my ability to provide my clients with appropriate services and products. As a fiduciary, I can choose to operate in a business model that is best for my client. The key is fully disclosing, and avoiding and fairly managing conflicts of interest. Providing financial advice with fiduciary accountability does not reduce services to middle Americans. It insures that the services consumers receive will be in their best interests -- not in the best interests of the financial intermediary or his or her company.
Please recommend to Congress that it is necessary and appropriate in the public interest and for the protection of consumers to extend the Advisor Act fiduciary standard to broker-dealers, who provide personalized investment advice, and to initiate a rulemaking to achieve this long overdue consumer reform.
Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, CFP®
President Capelli Financial Services, Inc.
40950 Woodward Avenue Suite 140
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304