August 12, 2010
My company has one of the most stringent suitability standards already regarding each and every sale we make. Requiring compliance with "fiduciary standards" will drive many advisers out of the market and eliminate a valuable advisory resource to middle and lower income markets. I deal mostly with middle income and forcing them to pay someone to advise them is not always an option, nor is it always a good option. Charging a fee does not always guarantee you have your clients best interest at heart, as I have seen some of the suggestions by these types of advisors and have not been that overly impressed with what people are paying for. I have never considered charging a fee as I believe if you are with a reputable company and broker dealer who has high enough standards, it keeps the reg rep / agent ethical and educated to help the client make the right choices. Additional risk of lawsuits involving registered reps will increase the costs to the consumers as we have seen in the bailouts and new regulations so far, and the increase cost of our errors and ommissions insurance will be passed on to the consumer as well if we are required to go to fee based.
Please do not impose these new "fiduciary duty" liabilities on registered representatives, as there is no way that anyone could be in compliance with the new law and not be free from lawsuits, even if they did nothing wrong.