March 15, 2004
As an investor, as well as a fee-only financial advisor providing both investment management and financial planning counsel to clients, I believe that the more disclosure required the better. As a result, the proposed rule to require brokers and others to disclose the amount of commissions their client will have to pay to invest in a security, mutual fund, 529 plan, etc. is a good one.
My experience as an advisor is that people are afraid to ask about compensation issues. Smooth talking broker/salespeople convince clients to buy products they dont want, dont understand and dont need, precisely because of the commission they will be paid. Sometimes these commissions are fair and reasonable. Other times, they are not. The more egregious the commission, the more the salesperson will try to convince the client it is in their best interest to buy, and probably, the more protection from that product the client needs. Consumers certainly have the right to buy what they want, but the more the SEC and others can help make consumers aware of the costs and the implications, the more the public will be protected and ultimately well served.
Norman M. Boone, CFP R