January 17, 2005
There have been some significant abuses independent advisors have seen over the past several years in wirehouse fee-based brokerage accounts they have inherited once a clients CPA or Attorney has understood the meaningful difference between a fiduciary standard of conduct and a binding arbitration agreement. They have found everything from b-share balances to frequent trading practices. The SEC has left the cookie jar open and the brokerage firms just cant keep their hands out of the jar.
Clients, CPAs and Attorneys alike can not distinguish the difference because they are not close enough to the issue to make the right choice. If they did understand, then they would require SEC or State oversight as an investment advisor. In my view, this is one of the clearest situations where a regulatory body such as the SEC should act not in the interest of the biggest companies in the industry, but rather in the interest of the investing public. Fees should only apply where the client is being served in a fiduciary capacity....period. Otherwise too many members of the public will be buying the proverbial wolf in sheeps clothing. People paying fees expect someone on their side not caveat emptor.
Please make this simple, easy and in favor of the investing public.......if you want a transaction pay a commission to a broker,..... if on the other hand you want someone to act on your behalf by providing long term advice then pay a fee to a properly registered and regulated advisor.