July 20, 2017
Securities and Exchange Commission,
When investors turn to financial professionals for advice, they expect and deserve advice that's in their best interests. But some "advisers" who work for broker-dealers are not always required to meet that standard, and some may even be paid in ways that reward them for putting the interests of the firm ahead of the best interests of the customer. Investors lose out on tens of billions of dollars in investment returns each year when these conflicted advisers recommend inferior investment products that pay them more. I urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt new rules, modeled on the Department of Labor's rule for retirement investment advice, requiring brokers to act in their customers' best interests and requiring firms to reduce conflicts that undermine that standard. Investors don't need more boilerplate disclosures, they need real protections from industry practices that put their financial well-being at risk.
It truly is a shame that ethics has to be enforced by law in the financial sector but it is apparent that this is required. I recently had a knee replaced, and the surgeon put in the best prosthesis available. I trusted him, and it was well placed. He was paid an acceptable fee, and I got a new and pin-up working knee. I want that same level of trust in the financial services sector, to know that my adviser won't put my money into an inferior product because his profit margin is greater in that instance. Please consider rules and standards (with teeth) for financial advisers to protect the working and investing public. We are trying to aid our retirement support, but we need honest help.