July 28, 2010
I do believe that a fiduciary responsibility is necessary to all clients as a basis in anything you do for a client but that is because I am a CPA. However, I also understand that a client that has a minimum investment in a mutual fund may not need a high level of service and that at this time the cost would outweigh the advantage as I have heard from brokers and insurance people. There is a happy medium however. I am not sure that you use amount invested to set the level at which a fiduciary responsibility applies but that might be a start.
I also think that there should at least be a mandatory statement to a client stating when and when not there is a fiduciary responsibility in clear terms so that a client at least understands what he ie getting. This should be required to be read and signed by a client. I have asked clients about their understanding of this in the past and many are not aware that this responsibility is not part of the brokerage overall business at all times. I have even been asked what does fiduciary responsibility mean so even that needs to be simply and clearly defined. At least then the consumer is aware and that is really what is necessary.