July 22, 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.
Assigning fiduciary responsibility to financial advisers is a critical consumer protection. Many brokerages and mutual funds and 401K's and 403b's and 457 k's have been stealing from us small-time investors with hidden fees and self-serving advice. Without the law or regulations requiring them to give my financial well-being precedence over their own, they will resume slanting their advice and recommendations in a way that benefits increasing their own wealth, not necessarily increasing mine. Please do not let that happen.
Michael A. Fasulo