July 28, 2010
All financial professionals should be held to the same fudiciary standards as lawyers and CPAs. This will include "financial advisors", "consultants", and others who hold themselves to give advise to investors.
Exempt should be those who clearly disclose that they are selling something, have a conflict of interest or otherwise are not looking out for the best interests of the investor. Termonology should be developed for this disclosure so it is required to be disclosed uniformly.
All financial arrangements and compensation, direct and indirect, must be disclosed to the investor.
This should be required of all persons and organizations who give investment advise, including investment newsletters, journalists, and educators. The investor must be informed if the source of the information is biased or otherwise not independent.
Transparency will serve the best interest of the investor.
The public can then decide if they want to do business with or follow the advise of a professional with fudiciary responsibility or a biased firm and their sales persons or other spokespersons.
When I go in a store to buy an appliance or an automobile, the sales person is friendly and "helpful" however, I am not under the misapprehension that they are my friend whose sole mission is to do what is right for me. Financial advisors who hold themselves out to do the right things for their customers must help their clients before personal gain. If not, they are con artists who insincerely promise in order to benefit themselves.
Honesty, professionalism and fudiciary responsibility are black and white. Like pregnancy, you either are or are not. There should be no compromise in establishing fudiciary and disclosure standards to protect the public.