August 24, 2010
The suitability standard governing broker-dealers and registered representatives is a robust and heavily enforced standard. Compare and contrast it to how you see the fiduciary standard governing investment advisers is applied and enforced.
Compliance costs-both in terms of finances and time-are high, and those costs are eventually felt by clients. Adding another layer of regulation means another layer of compliance, and even more cost to clients.
I hold property/casualty, life and health as well as my securities license with COUNTRY Financial. All of these require continuing education, ethics course, and annual compliance reviews. I am examined once a year by a Compliance Officer with COUNTRY. I feel these regulations are sufficient enough to perform our fiduciary duties.
If the SEC forces representatives to go to a fee based model to protect us from liability, will that promote problem solvers or "order takers". Can our clients afford to pay up front fees, or would they be willing to? Will the liabilities drive up errors and omissions coverage? Will the expenses and liabilities become to great for the representatives to stay in business? I hope all of these thoughts are considered before any decisions are made