July 30, 2010
I have spent 40 years serving clients and helping them with thier insurance and investment needs. The misguided attempt to impose a fiduciary standard in place of the suitability standard now in place. The suitability standard looks forward and tries to prevent harm to consumers by way of frequent and ongoing broker-dealer and FINRA audits and compliance processes, whereas the fiduciary standard looks back and enforces retroactively by way of SEC enforcement or lawsuit. Major investment scandals have been almost exclusively among those subject to fiduciary standards (remember Madoff?) not those subject to forward looking suitability standards. In addition, I am regulated enough The costs associated with compliance regulations unfortunatly get passed on to clients, and, if these costs continue to rise, will prevent consumers from obtaining the services they need. In addition, a change to a fiduciary standard would force me and thousands of my peers to switch to a fee-based system. Clients, other than the wealthy, cannot afford up-front fees, and will therefore go without neededprotections and advice. If you have not done so, you need to examine what has happened to the insurance and investment economy in Great Britan in the last four years. Over 50% of the Reps are gone. Prouct sales (Variable life, annuity, mutual fund) are down 50%+, and the capital invested into the economy by the financial services industry has virtually dried up. The general population is not being insured-not investing-and all because of regulations - well meaning regulations - eerily like the fiduciary standard regulations you are considering. You owe it to the American people to thouroughly examine the consequences of your actions. try to adhere to the Physicians creed- "first do no harm"