August 26, 2010
Dear Ms. Murphy:
I am an accountant, financial planner and a Registered Investment Advisor in Livingston, MT. Livingston is a small town so I need to wear many hats to make a living. I only manage about $4.5 million of assets under management, but nonetheless the amounts I do manage are for clients who are have been financially abused by other advisors and came to me seeking help.
In my practice, I have been servicing clients under a fiduciary standard of care as an accountant for over 20 years and as a financial planner for 7 years. Having also worked as insurance salesman and stock broker, I know first hand how a commission-based payment structure blinds a person to what is best for the client. I therefore, strongly urge you to extend the Advisers Act fiduciary standard of care to all financial professionals who provide personalized investment advice to retail clients.
It is unfair to consumers that the quality of advice they receive from a financial professional is dependent on the professionalís registration or title. Itís no wonder consumers are confused, and do not know whether their financial professional is looking out for their best interests. I can tell you from my personal experience that adhering to the fiduciary standard of care and putting my clientsí interests ahead of my own benefits my clients and my business.
After this study period, I hope you do what is right for the consumer by adopting a fiduciary standard. The Wall Street machine has had its opportunity and abused it. It is time to make a change.
Alan D. Hearn, CFP, E.A.
Certified Financial Planner and Tax Professional