July 30, 2010
I am in my 29th year in the life insurance and financial services industry, representing one of the most financially sound and respected companies in the world - New York Life. I have been a Registered Representative, licensed and supervised in the sale of securities for most of the past 20 years. In addition to insurance license examinations, I was required to pass additional examiniations for my Series 6 and Series 63 securities licenses and I have a full time assistant whose primary responsibilities include helping to keep our records and files in compliance. Additionally, I am subject to periodic annual compliance reviews, one of which is unannounced and includes comprehensive review of my client files and I am required to take a CBT regulatory exam once ever three years for ongoing education and compliance. This is in addition to my annual requirement of Continuing Education credits to maintain my license. And, my broker dealer requires me to physically attend and participate in a Firm Element exercise on current laws and industry regulations as well as company rules governing the sale of securities. With all of this current regulation and compliance, I work under the "suitability" standard of care in doing due diligence fact-finding and research before recommending only products which would be "suitable" for my clients based on their age, income, risk tolerance, timeframe, assets and stated needs.
To change that standard of care to a "fiduciary" standard would require that all clients use only fee-based planners and I think would be a great injustice to the consumers as well as to many companies and Registered Representatives. Many middle income clients could not, and/or would not, pursue advice if they had to pay an up-front fee, and I do not believe the quality of the advice would necessarily be improved upon by limiting its source to fee-based planners.
The regulation and compliance we work under now is absolutely enough to protect consumers and give them the opportunity to work with licensed and supervised professionals. It is simply a matter of enforcing the standard -as New York Life does now- that is already in place that provides the real protection for the consumer.
I hope you will agree that the "fiduciary" standard for Registered Representatives like me who serve a middle class, working clientele, is sufficient regulation with proper supervision from my Broker-Dealer.