August 6, 2010
I am in the financial industry and agree that changes need to occur. The fiduciary responsability in good in theory but falls short in practice. What the nation and industry needs is a forward looking process. Something that won't add undue costs to small investors and clarifies the roll of investment professionals to the general public.
From what I have seen, read and been told, the fiduciary standard is a backwards looking to punish breaches retroactively. This doesn't necessarily protect the consumer. What is needed is a forward looking method designed to prevent breaches proactively. While the suitability standard is far from perfect, it attempts to do this.
The biggest issue that I see is no consistent standard across all aspects of the 'financial services' world. I realize that you are attempting to fix this by enforcing the fiduciary standard, but this will harm a good portion of small investors. There is no one standard or model that will fit everything. For example there is a debate raging about commission accounts vs. advisory accounts vs. fee only advice. This is a huge topic and there is no one answer to the question of which is the best.
We need a regulator system that will support all three. We need public awareness of what the pros and cons are to each. If we eliminate everything but fee planning, then the little man gets cut out. Often times it is impossible for a lower income/lower asset client to pay the fee required to meet with a professional.
I urge you to reconsider you position on the fiduciary standard.