Fiduciary vs Salesperson

Dec 2005

A more significant battle currently rages between stockbrokers and investment advisers.  Stockbrokers, even those who refer to themselves as consultants or financial advisers, are often regulated as salespeople, whereas investment advisers are typically regulated as fiduciaries.  Securities salespeople owe certain responsibilities to their customers; however, placing their customers’ interests first is not necessarily one of these responsibilities.  Fiduciaries, on the other hand, are subject to the more significant requirement of placing their clients’ interests first. ...  Justly or unjustly, some fiduciary advisers have concluded that broker-dealers really don’t want to be held to fiduciary standards for significant parts of their services.  As for us, we think investors need advisers who place their clients’ interests first and who are highly competent. In short, investors need advisers who will not betray their clients’ trust or expectations of quality advice.