August 2, 2010
I am a financial rep currently studying to become securities licensed. In my studies and observations of professionals in the industry, and research on the topic of fiduciary standards, I have come to the opinion that the current efforts of the Dodd-Frank bill to impose a VAGUE and EASILY-ABUSED "best interest" requirement on broker/dealers and their representatives is misguided and damaging. The efforts will not change standards of care already in place through FINRA and the broker/dealers themselves, and enforced by numerous SEC rules, all of which enforce the highest quality of client care. Further legislation requiring a fiduciary standard for registered representatives will create a letigious atmosphere where reps and broker/dealers are frivolously sued by profit-seeking, hindsighted attorneys and golddigger persons. Already, registered reps seek to take care of their clients and offer them the best products and services. Are there the few outliers who abuse these? Yes, but the overwhelming majority, 99%+, seek to do what's right by their clients. An imposed fiduciary standard will also make it harder to care for one's clients, creating more compliance work--in short, we will see the onset of the same situation that has put the healthcare industry in such turmoil. The parallels are endless--errors/omissions insurance costs will go up, time to spend helping clients will go down, "defensive care" will be the new standard, and competition between products and services will disappear and quality will degrade. Please do not enforce this blind reaction of fiduciary standards on individuals in an industry with an already robust and heavily-eforced standard of care.
Northwestern Mutual Financial Network