August 29, 2010
I don't think the average person who is not connected with a financial house or institution knows exactly to what extent brokers, dealers and investment advisors are currently regulated. It would seem that there must be some regulatory gaps or shortcomings when so many investors have lost money to elaborate Ponzi schemes during the past several years, especially with whistle-blowers trying to call attention to it.
I do believe that I know the difference in the standard of care applicable to brokers, dealers, etc., although I do not see this publicized very often. At my current level of information, I would say that we need someone overseeing the financial industry, enforcing the rules already in place, and not necessarily making more rules.
We are fortunate to have a broker who has spent the past 25 years: Educating us on what criteria to use when investing, such as risk tolerance, goals, etc.; how to diversify broadly enough that we aren't overly exposed in any one area (as well as how to tough it out through the ups and downs); and he has always reduced his commission or fees when buying or selling. He has not accomplished the impossibility of choosing right 100 percent of the time, but he has done very, very well over the years, and has gained our trust and appreciation. We think he may be better than a "financial advisor."
Velma E. Bunne