Advice or Sales?
You should be glad you don’t work as a financial planner who believes in a fiduciary standard—who has pledged to work for the best interests of clients rather than yourself or the company you work for. Why? Because the big sales organizations on Wall Street have been trying to influence the organizations that make our rules.
Case in point is the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new Reg BI—aka Regulation Best Interest. The regulation was in part intended to help consumers recognize the difference between fiduciary advisors and salespeople who sell insurance, annuities, and other products.
Alas, I believe that Reg BI actually did little to stop salespeople from calling themselves professional advisors, and even recharacterized their asset gathering and sales activities, on behalf of their brokerage employers, as “best interest.” The result is that consumers have to be extra careful that they aren’t being sold products under the guise of advice.