Friday, April 29, 2016

Financial Advisor Fiduciary Rules

This is government at its best - taking a real problem, trying to solve it, and making it worse.

Yes, financial advisers have an inherent conflict of interest that tends to cause them to steer clients towards investments that make the adviser money.  Worse, most financial advisors get most of their training from the company that employs them, so they don't even KNOW that their advice is tainted.  This is the only explanation for why good, honest people can sell whole or universal life policies, which are terrible and you should never buy.

This is a problem requiring a solution.  Despite my misgivings, it might even require a government solution.  The solution on the table, however, won't solve the problem (unless you think you've solved the problem of there being marginal advice by replacing it with no advice at all).  Contrary to what Bernie might say, even financial advisors have to make money.  They make money off commissions, and that leads to the conflict of interest.  Requiring a fiduciary standard, which HuffPo conveniently fails to define - here's a decent source, though it fails to highlight the pitfalls.

Simply put, a fiduciary standard makes an advisor VERY responsible for giving good advice, and opens them up to enormous potential liability.  No advisor is going to accept that risk without some real money coming in.  In fact, HuffPo misses the point that the standard already applies to advisors!  It's brokers, people who facilitate more than advise, that don't have to uphold the higher standard.

If this rule passes (which is a misnomer, since it is unelected bureaucrats making the rule) poor and middle class people will find investment advice almost impossible to come by.


  1. What about advisors that work on am hourly or per service charge?

    1. Those are the ones that cost too much for the poor or middle class.

  2. What about advisors that work on am hourly or per service charge?

  3. I am unable to make an intelligent response at this time. I have imbibed too many Honest Weight beers. I would love to discuss this topic when I am sober.