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Planners Chime In on Fiduciary Standard

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WASHINGTON–The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should adopt a uniform standard for sale of investment products no less stringent than the fiduciary standard under the Investment Advisers Act, a coalition of financial planner groups says.

The SEC should adopt “a strong and uniform fiduciary standard of care for broker-dealers and investment advisers when providing personalized investment advice about securities to retail customers, according to a statement by the Financial Planning Coalition, commenting on a mandate under the recent financial services reform law that requires the SEC to draft a new standard-of-care rule for financial advisors.

The members of the coalition are the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

In its letter, the coalition said establishing “a strong and uniform fiduciary standard” is “among the most important investor protection initiatives that the commission could undertake.”

It called the broker-dealer standard of care under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s suitability rule “ineffective in protecting investors receiving personalized investment advice because it leaves substantial gaps in coverage when compared to the fiduciary standard applicable to investment advisers.”

Moreover, the SEC should not allow one group of financial advisors to work under a lower standard than is required for others, the letter argued.

“A fiduciary standard that is both strong and uniform is a common-sense reform that will result in substantial benefits to investors and to the markets as a whole,” the coalition added.


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