August 27, 2010
I strongly support that all those who provide investment advice(however its disguised) be subject to a fiduciary standard of care. Whether or not such an industrywide standard could be enforced is of some question to me. At a minimum, it would serve the best interests of the investing public if the all registered reps and broker-dealers were required to drop their use of the term 'adviser/advisor' from their titles. This single word, in and of itself, has caused the consumer more confusion than any other. As an RIA, our firm adheres strictly to a fiduciary standard and is compensated (fee only) under a structure complaint with the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. This act clearly outlines who can be called an adviser. Registered reps and broker-dealers are sales people with their first duty of loyalty to an entity other than the client. There is nothing illegal or unethical about this fact. However, when they position themselves as an 'adviser' the investing public is mislead into believing the rep has the client's best interest as their number one duty.
John S. Marshall, CFA, CFP, FRM