February 4, 2005
There are certain moments in an organizations or a persons life where they come to a crossroads. They can follow the easy path or take the high road. In this instance, the easy path is to allow the status quo to continue. By pleasing the large brokerage houses, the SEC wont feel the heat from the elected representatives because their largest donors are unhappy. Or the SEC can take the difficult path and serve as the fiduciary organization that the American people expect.
When deciding on the path I follow, I first put myself in the concerned parties shoes. As I stand in the shoes of the broker-dealers, I see how the fiduciary requirements would slow my sales and revenues down. I would want the status quo so I could make consumers believe our financial plans are in their best interest, yet they are nothing more than a sales tool.
As the American consumer, I would desire a situation where the financial plan prepared for me actually suited my needs. I would also expect the government to look out for my best interests, irregardless of the political ramifications.
The view of a financial planner regulated by the Investment Advisors Act, I expect that they would want a level playing field. Why should the competition be able to advertise themselves as planners, yet they do not have to act in the consumers best interest. If the competition wants to say they are planners, then they shoudl be held to the same standards as planners.
I hope the SEC looks at the situation from all the parties views and serves as a fiduciary for the people.