August 18, 2010
A fiduciary standard is 100% needed when relating to those who offer advice and recommend financial products to consumers. The fact that there is no standard for consumers to be able to differentiate one so-called "financial advisor" from another is absolutely terrible. I am a Registered Representative, and I have also passed the Series 66 exam to offer financial advice as an advisor for a fee, but to be honest, those exams do not screen out individuals who can simply pass a test. Doctor's undergo extensive apprenticeships to become licensed physicians, and Accountants undergo a battery of tests to be called a CPA. Those are two examples of professions that have a vetting process that helps to ensure individuals are working with professionals. For the financial services industry, there is no real standard by which a consumer can judge individual "planners" or advisors. This is a problem with our industry. Anyone who is either insurance or securities licensed can sell and recommend products. There is an obvious conflict of interest here for advisors. Creating an enforceable fiduciary standard will duly regulate the industry and be a great asset to the consumers.