The Financial Planning Coalition has called on Congress to support the Securities and Exchange Commission in establishing a fiduciary standard of care for broker-dealers.
The coalition is also urging Congress—particularly the Republican majority in the House, which is threatening to cut funding for the SEC—to provide full funding for the SEC to protect investors from financial scams like Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The Financial Planning Coalition is a lobbying group that includes the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association, and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, representing nearly 75,000 financial planners.
“Congress needs to support the work of the SEC as it carries out the will of Congress in the Dodd-Frank legislation,” said Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, managing director for public policy and communications at the CFP Board of Standards. “This includes moving forward with key consumer protection initiatives and providing the full funding authority the SEC has requested, which does not come from taxpayers but those whom the Commission regulates.”
In its letter, the Coalition urged prompt action to extend the fiduciary standard to broker-dealers who provide retail investment advice to consumers. Requiring those who sell investment products based on their advice to clients to adhere to a fiduciary standard of care will provide an additional level of consumer protection to investors, particularly the elderly.
“The coalition encourages Congress to support the SEC as it continues to build an appropriate record and moves forward with rulemaking on the fiduciary standard,” said Nancy Hradsky, professional growth and business development manager at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. “The extension of a fiduciary standard of care to all broker-dealers will build much-needed confidence among average American consumers whose faith in the financial markets is still shaken.”
The coalition policy leaders also expressed concern about the debate over increasing the SEC's funding authority. In order for the SEC to effectively oversee markets and market participants, it needs Congress to authorize additional funding, which does not come from taxpayers themselves.
“It is more important than ever to give the SEC the resources and tools it needs to protect investors and carryout the additional duties placed upon it by Congress,” said Dan Barry, managing director of government relations and public policy for the Financial Planning Association. “The capital markets need to be well-regulated in order to restore investor confidence to help lead the nation's economic recovery.”