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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Advisor Groups Join Forces for Strong Fiduciary Standard

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Several investment industry groups joined forces on July 14 to voice their support for the Obama Administration’s plan for reregulating financial services, and “Investor Protection Act of 2009″ guidelines for legislation that were sent to Congress on July 10.

The group sent a letter to House Committee on Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and the ranking member, Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) noting their “strong support for the proposal in the Administration’s White Paper on financial regulatory reform to subject all those who provide investment advice to a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests.”

The letter takes a strong stand in the debate about whether a strong fiduciary standard duty–which already applies to investment advisors–or a lesser suitability standard–which applies to broker/dealer representatives, would be best for clients: “We share the view that the highest legal standard–a fiduciary duty–should apply to all who give financial advice to clients. Over the years, we have looked on in dismay as brokers have been allowed to offer extensive advisory services, and market their services based on the advice offered, all without having to comply with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Advisers Act).”

The group also praised the speed with which of the Obama administration and Treasury has proposed new legislation on financial reform, but tempered that with some concern that part of the plan may not yet be strong enough, cautioning: “we fear it may fall short.”

The letter was signed by Kevin R. Keller, CEO of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards; Barbara Roper, Director of Investor Protection at the Consumer Federation of America; Marvin W. Tuttle Jr., Executive Director and CEO, Financial Planning Association; Mercer Bullard Founder and CEO, Fund Democracy; David G. Tittsworth, Executive Director of the Investment Adviser Association; Fred J. Joseph, President of the North American Securities Administrators Association; and Ellen Turf, CEO of National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

For more on the discussion over the fiduciary standard and the suitability standard, with links to recent speeches and other resources, please click here.

This topic has generated a great deal of healthy discussion. invites your comments to continue the conversation. Please send them to [email protected].

Kate McBride is editor in chief of Wealth Manager and a member of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.


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