August 29, 2010
I watched Suze Orman last night and yet another caller had been convinced/coerced into placing much of their emergency fund cash into a Class A mutual (bond) fund by a financial "advisor." As Suze highlighted, this was a salesperson, not an advisor, who took 4-5% of their emergency fund as a commission and placed the caller into an investment that did not protect principal. The Dodd-Frank fiduciary standard for brokers would have given the caller far more recourse to undo this transaction and be made whole again.
In my family's own financial situation, we are going to be at a crossroads within another two years, possibly fewer, as to whether to shift a substantial fraction of our assets into a wrap account with a broker at a reputable financial firm. This is to protect against the contingency that I may die unexpectedly, leaving my wife to handle and navigate the financial options of today's environment. Should brokers be subject to the higher fiduciary standards of a true financial advisor, I would be far less uneasy about such a move.
Prior to commenting, I took the time to review the prior responses listed on the SEC website. Of the form letters, which I presume you rather discount, the Type E letter is aligned with my view. I was also appalled to see the comments by avowed long time financial professionals who couldn't even complete a single sentence without spelling or grammar mistakes. Only in America could virtually illiterate persons be providing investment advice