August 25, 2010
I am a Registered Rep advisor having (Series 6, 7, 65, 66), Life and Health Insurance licenses with 15 years in the business. With all due respect in regards to the Dodd-Frank Act, allow me to disagree with the assessment that all broker-dealers, be held to the same legal fiduciary requirement investment advisers have when providing advice to clients.
The suitability standard governing broker-dealers and registered representatives is a robust and heavily enforced standard. There is no need to increase the current standards since there is no proof that more regulation will indeed bring less fraud.
I act in the best interest of my clients. I do not need the government to tell me that is my duty. The fiduciary duty as defined by the Dodd-Frank Act would require that all broker-dealers be held to a legal and vaguely defined standard "to act in the best interest of the customer without regard to the financial or other interest of the broker, dealer, or investment adviser providing the advice."
I am already acting in the "best interest" of the clients the Act does not define what the rules are for compliance with a legal "best interest" standard - thus subjecting registered representatives to the potential of never ending lawsuits.
For example, is "best" the cheapest recommended product? Is it the "best" premium relative to the benefit of the product? Is it the product with the "best" historic underwriting and service standards? Is it the one from the carrier with the "best" rating? The fiduciary standard in essence adds a vague legal liability standard that looks back (sometimes after many years) and is enforced after the fact by the SEC or trial lawyers who have perfect vision in hindsight.
The duty as defined by the Act does include some key limitations that prohibit a regulator from holding a registered representative in violation of the "best interest" standard simply because they receive a commission or recommend to the client to purchase a proprietary product.
What kind of law we have that by recommending a proprietary product a registered rep will be in violation the "best interest"?
Are we following the same regulatory and job killing steps of the former Soviet Union? Where the buyer's responsibility begins?
Thank you for allowing me to voice my concerns.