December 20, 2010
I believe that any person calling themselves a "financial planner", "financial advisor", etc. should be required to be a fiduciary and place their clients' interests above their own. I think registered reps should not be allowed to use the same titles as those used by fiduciaries - too confusing. Also, registered reps should be required to explain clearly that their primary responsibility is to the broker-dealer that employs them and that any client interests are secondary.
I spend a lot of time explaining to friends and family that their "financial consultant" who is a registered rep typically is not required to act in the client's best interests but is more likely obligated to sell them whatever management is telling them to sell.
The general investing public simply does not understand that many investing professionals aren't looking out for their clients as much as they are for themselves. With more and more individuals having to save for retirement or college funding, it's even more important that they sre made aware of the potential conflicts of interest in the advice that they are given.