In his comment to my last blog (“The Boys of September” ), John Hawkes made a good catch, but not because my calculator is broken, rather because apparently I can’t type, or proofread. The ORC Study that I referenced actually states that “76%” of retail investors believe that anyone who calls themselves a “financial advisor,” “financial planner,” or “investment advisor’ has a fiduciary duty to their clients, not “75%” as I wrote. So it’s true that “more than 3 out of 4″ of those misguided clients and would-be clients believe their advisors have to put their interests first, whether they do or not.
John went on to raise a more important issue, when he asked: “…can you tell me what you mean by an ‘authentic’ fiduciary standard? Is it one defined by trust laws, ERISA laws, IRS laws, or what? Which one is authentic?”
My guess is that rather than really asking for information, John is making the point that there are currently a number of fiduciary standards, and by implication, that there is some inconsistency between them that leads to confusion, much like the current situation where financial advisors are regulated by either the SEC or FINRA. He, like many others these days, seems to be suggesting that should the SEC decide in favor of a fiduciary standard for brokers, their action would lead to more confusion, rather than less.