August 24, 2010
I have been in finalcial services for 27 years and hold a series 6 and 63 in addition to fixed and variable insurance licenses. In addition, I have been heavily involved in the industry on the local, state and notional level. Furthermore, I have always adhered to what is best for my clients.
The proposed regulation to include "fiduciary standard" for brokers seems to be a redundant action in light of the "suitability standard" that has been used for decades. The prevailing motivation for this proposal is that the consumer will be better protect under the fiduciary standard. Was the consumer protected better from Bernie Madoff or Mark Stanford?
If the existing regulations were monitored and enforced there would be no need for new regulations. Self policing procedures for the suitablility standard have certanly done at least as well as the fiduciary standards.
Furthermore, introducing new regulations will cause additional consumer confusion, create new and costly levels of compliance and cause unethical advisors to devise new ways to get around the regulations.
Character cannot be regulated or legislated. Perhaps tougher entry level standards and greater penalties for supervisors would discourage unscrupulous behavior. But in the real world, if an advisor wants to fleece a client they will find a way whether it is the suitable or fiduciary standard.
The bottom line is that greater enforcement of existing rules would serve the public better than increased layers of regulation and paperwork both of which create more confusion and higher costs to the consumer and the ethical advisors who just want to help their client. Please do not heap new burdens on the many because of a few.
Thank you for your consideration of these comments.
Barry A. Cook CLU, ChFC