July 30, 2010
I am writing to urge you NOT to impose fiduciary standards on registered representatives. Doing so is a recipe for driving more talented, caring, forward looking insurance and financial advisors out of our business to the detriment of the public.
Currently I am regulated to death by FINRA, the insurance departments of the 50 states in which I choose to do business, my broker dealer and the various product providers. I have series 7, 24 and 63 securities licenses in addition to corporate and/or individual life insurance licenses in all states. All impose continuing education requirements in addition to firm requirements. I am audited yearly by my broker dealer and every transaction I submit is reviewed for suitability at the OSJ and firm level. I am buried in regulatory paperwork and have had to hire additional staff just to keep up with it.
I view the fiduciary standard proposed as a step backwards in regards to protecting my clients. The suitability standard governing broker dealers is far superior at identifying inappropriate recommendations that may prove harmful to a particular client.
The only alternative to protect me from liability should you impose the fiduciary standard is charging fees. Paying fees for advice is only realistic for a small portion of the public and yet the imposition of fiduciary standards may make that a necessity to protect the advisor from liability. Do we really want to disenfranchise the public this way? I hope not.
Please recognize that we are already sufficiently regulated and do NOT impose the onerous, job and service killing fiduciary standard you are consdering.