- Best Practices
- Fiduciary September
- Campaign for Investors
On July 14, 2011 SIFMA submitted comments to the SEC on a proposed framework for establishing a uniform fiduciary standard of conduct for broker-dealers. SIFMA’s proposal departs from the fiduciary standard as set forth under the Advisers Act of 1940 and, if adopted, would be particularly harmful to retail investors.
Contrary to what some of the comments received by the DOL/EBSA suggest, fiduciary duties are neither too “ill-defined” nor “vague” to be applied to investment advisory activities. Such duties have been applied to other professionals for centuries. Additionally, there is a significant body of case law applying fiduciary duties of due care, loyalty, and good faith upon the activities of investment advisers (both at the federal and state level).
Disclosures and client consent are insufficient – by themselves – to satisfy the fiduciary standard. Investors must be able to rely on and have confidence in the expertise of their advisor. This can only be accomplished by applying a standard that prohibits all conflicts of interest.
Certain comments made by Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. of SIFMA before the U.S. Department of Labor hearing on the proposed definition of fiduciary regulation were either misleading and/or not relevant to the issues under consideration. The DOL should carefully scrutinize the (flawed) arguments of those organizations opposed to a bona fide fiduciary standard of conduct.
Many people have asked about the origins of the “Butcher versus Dietitian” white board video recently popularized by Hightower Advisors and Tony Robbins. Its an excellent video, no doubt. Full disclosure, the first rendition of this story line to explain the differences between a broker and investment adviser in recent times (that I am aware of) was actually ten years ago when Harold Evensky and I collaborated on the idea in a different format and medium. Click the link above to see the PSA and news release. Knut
Institute Research Associate – Darren Fogarty
Darren Fogarty is an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), where he studies Economics and Sustainability Studies. He also recently graduated from a summer program studying International Relations at Georgetown University.
Darren also works at UNCG’s writing center as a consultant, where he aids students and alumni in their writing processes. He is passionate about the work he does for the Institute, and is dedicated to promoting and preserving the principles which uphold our capital markets.