As legislators consider how to implement a uniform fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisors under Dodd-Frank, a new survey reveals that, by a vast majority, full-service customers don’t know the difference between the standards that are now in effect.
At issue, of course, is the question of a suitability standard (under which an advisor is required to make investments he judges to be suitable for his clients) vs. a fiduciary standard (under which an advisor is required to act in his clients’ best interests, and disclose to them all conflicts of interest). The J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study, released Thursday, shows that 85% of full-service investors either have not heard of the difference between the two or do not understand what the difference is.
There is, however, a difference in satisfaction levels between them. Among the full-service clients who have a fiduciary relationship with their advisors, 57% say that increases their comfort level; 42% say it actually reduces their comfort level.