Advisors (or advisers) look out, your titles are poised to be taken away by the SEC. While much of the focus on the new SEC best interest rule has understandably been centered around its pseudo-fiduciary components, there is actually a major fight brewing over the SEC’s new rules which restrict the use of certain titles. In particular, it wants to bar brokers from using the word “advisor” and potentially “financial planner” as well. The idea is to only associate the word “advisor” with a fiduciary to make it clearer to consumers. Industry interest groups are already railing against the proposal.
FINSUM: We find this a complicated issue. We understand the fiduciary motivation here, but advisors have been using that title for a long time and, for better or worse, are known that way by the public. Further, a fee structure does not, in our view, change whether someone is an advisor (in the general sense of the word).