January 14, 2005
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER CFP practioner I strongly believe that anyone who holds themselves out to the public to be a financial advisor has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of their clients. As it stands right now, however, brokers i.e., securities salesmen are permitted to hold themselves out to the public as financial advisors, yet they have no legally mandated fiduciary responsibility. Nor do the vast majority of brokers have the CFP credentials, signifying they have at least a modicum of training, education, and experience required to adequately fulfill their fiduciary obligation to provide sound financial planning advice and assistance to the public. Therefore, I feel if brokers are permitted to hold themselves out to be financial advisors they should be held to the same standard for fiduciary responsibility as Financial Planners and should also be subject to the same oversight and compliance standards. Anything less is misleading to the public and undermines the confidence the public should have in those holding themselves out as financial advisors.