September 7, 2010
In theory, expanding the fiduciary seems perfectly reasonable. However in practice, additional standards and regulation will do little or nothing to actually help people receive better advice.
Higher perceived standards and more regulation will do nothing but raise costs associated with financial advise. The increased costs and associated liabilities will restrict advice to all but the wealthiest indiviuals.
As an independent financial advisor and attorney, these proposed changes would require me to revise my current practice and switch my clients to a fee based model on a fully managed investment platform. However, the minimums for these platforms begin at $50,000 or $100,000. So the middle class families that I work with that have a lower net worth would go from receiving excellent advice to no advice.
It seems that the government feels that the T.V. personalities inciting fear and panic are the best source of advice for the general public. These "experts" do little for the public expect confuse and frighten them. Telling the average consumer to time the market is irresponsible and destructive. The media is not unbiased. If an individual has to listen to what they need to do today, then they have to tune in tomorrow to what they should be doing as well. This of course boosts their rating and the advertisting revenue to the station, while hurting the american people.
This part of the bill while well-meaning in theory is ineffective and misguided in real world application. My colleagues and myself in the financial services industry work diligently to provide our clients with quality, timely, and informed advice. We are a source of reason and perspective to millions of American families. This legislation will only limit who has access to that advice thereby leaving them to internet and the television for their information.