Over the past couple of years, I (and I’ve noticed, other advocates of a fiduciary standard for anyone who provides “financial advice”) have been accused of basing that position upon our “liberal” political beliefs. My standard response is that I don’t think my blogs and columns should be used to as a forum to voice my personal politics, regardless of what they are.
As I see it, my job is to help independent financial advisors better serve their clients, and to possibly create a client-centered profession to help them do it.
With that said, I’m feeling compelled to answer those critics, not so much in my own defense (well mostly not), but for conservative advisors, and observers, everywhere who also support comprehensive, fiduciary financial advice for retail investors.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a conservative my whole life, even when it wasn’t very popular among my generation, back in the ’70s. But I also like to think that I approach each political issue on its own merits, rather than being bound by a predetermined ideology.
And perhaps it’s due to this perspective, but I just don’t see anything particularly “liberal” about the notion that all professionals — including financial advisors — should be held to a standard of providing advice that is the best interest of their clients, rather than their own, or that of their employers.
Are we, as conservatives, really suggesting that our “free market” ideology includes allowing people to hold themselves out as something that they are not? Should we just let anyone who wants to, call themselves a doctor, or a lawyer, or an accountant, or an engineer? And leave it up to the consumers to figure if their advice is unbiased, or whether they are qualified to give any advice at all?