Rick Ketchum, the Chairman & CEO of FINRA testified before Congress recently regarding the Dodd-Frank Act, fiduciary standards for brokers and investment advisors, and oversight and regulation of investment advisors. His testimony can be found here.
In its testimony, FINRA agrees with many customer advocates that feel that Broker-Dealers (and their representatives) should be bound by the same fiduciary standard as registered investment advisors when giving personalized investment advice to the public. The testimony further restates the obvious: most customers cannot differentiate between services offered by Broker-Dealers versus Investment Advisors, and further are not aware of any differing standards of care or obligations.
The testimony further addresses the insufficient nature of current examinations of investment advisors by the SEC, and offers an allegedly better alternative: examinations by FINRA. FINRA maintains that investment advisor examinations and oversight by SRO’s (Self Regulatory Organizations) such as itself would help protect investors due to the fact that FINRA is currently overseen by the SEC, and currently examines many Broker-Dealers who also have investment advisory businesses.
Setting aside the adequacy of FINRA oversight, the fact remains that many customers who lose money due to the wrongful conduct of their broker or advisor cannot count on FINRA or the SEC to recover their funds. If you face such a situation, it is advisable to speak to an attorney to discuss your options. Our lawyers at Greco & Greco can be contacted here for a free consultation.