July 28, 2010
As a dual registered person, I believe there is a clear need for both brokers and advisors. The issue is in clarifying the role the advice is coming from. Brokers should not be able to provide advice, only transactions. Furthermore so called "Free Financial Plans" should be disallowed for brokers to provide. When a client receives a "plan" they assume that some specific advice has been developed for their needs. This is almost always not the case. In fact the client has generally recieved a collection of questionable at best math calculations. If a "plan" is to be presented and/or used to formulate financial decisions, then a fudiciary obligation and liability has occured.
If you provide advice, than you are an advisor and you have a fudiciary responsibility. If you simply provide transactions and ask someone to buy, than you should have a lower responsibility and liability.