August 3, 2010
I would like to echo the comments of the letter sent to House and Senate conferees from the Financial Planning Coalition on June 23, 2010. The newly passed financial reform law will not fulfill its intended objectives unless the consumers are protected by requiring that broker dealers and registered representatives all use the same fiduciary standard that has been required of investment advisors since the passage of the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. The outcry in America, and especially in Washington DC was deafening following the meltdown of financial markets in 2008. Meaningful reform was promised by politicians from the President on down through Representatives in the House. The unassuming public is generally not readily able to differentiate an insurance agent with a securities license, or a stock broker, from someone who has dedicated themselves to professional education and ethics such as advisors who have attained the privilege of using the designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP), when all may refer to themselves as "financial planners," or "financial advisors." The lobbyists from the insurance industry are attempting to diminish the importance of the fiduciary standard of care by refering to it as "not forward looking" however, that is not the case. Mere "suitability" as a measure of guaging the appropriateness of a specific security or other insurance or investment product has proven to be inadequate, and has not sufficiently protected the public. It is time to recognize and admit this is a fact, and to implement the fiduciary standard of care for all individuals who desire to serve the public in this realm.