August 30, 2010
Following a career in the US Air Force, I have been in the financial services industry for over 14 years. I am a Certified Financial Planner, Professional and an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) via my broker-dealer, Financial Network. Financial Network acts as the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). In accordance with the CFP Board requirements, I offer only a fiduciary level of service and I state fiduciary in both my prospect and new client engagement letters .
In almost all cases, my prospects tell me they had no idea there are two standards – suitability and fiduciary. Over the past 12 months, the unknowing and unwary include a Federal Judge and a number of seasoned estate attorneys.
Based upon my experiences and the expectations of most of my prospects and clients – the level of service should be as fiduciary. I believe that is what the public thinks.
What I’d like to see:
Best option – one standard – Fiduciary.
Next Best Option - In essence an opt out of Fiduciary requirement – the client can assume the party they are working with is acting in their best interest unless they are informed very specifically in very common language that the broker is acting per the suitability rules, what suitability really is and that suitability does not mean fiduciary.
THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT.
Phil Messuri, MS, CFP
Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.)