Now, broker/dealers not registered as investment advisors will be required to give brokerage customers a disclosure stating: "Our interests may not always be the same as yours." Timed to coincide with the compliance deadline for the rule, which the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted in April, the Financial Planning Association is releasing a brochure for clients that explains the difference between a brokerage account and an advisory account.
"Consumer Tips on Working with a Financial Adviser" informs consumers that the new rule "only muddies the name game." The rule tries "to clear up common misperceptions of consumers about conflicts of interest" but allows brokers to continue using different titles.
More sharply, the brochure states, "The new SEC rule fails consumers by not requiring the same disclosure standard for all financial advisers, not requiring that all financial advisers place their clients' interests ahead of their own, and not requiring that all financial advisers are fully qualified to help you meet your financial goals."
The FPA's president, James A. Barnash, soft-peddled the harsher position of the brochure in saying, "The SEC approach to disclosure is a good starting point. However, we believe that additional guidance will help the public better understand how the advisory or brokerage arrangement works in practice -- no matter how they are paid and who regulates them."