Does your financial adviser put your interests first? There's been a lot of chatter lately about this issue. If you saw my story about the plethora of financial designations displayed on an adviser's business card, you'll recall that some of the big financial wirehouses, such as A.G. Edwards, are making a push to get their financial consultants accredited in financial planning.
The financial planning community is responding to this effort by making sure that advisers put their client's needs first (rather than pushing the products of the firm he or she is affiliated with). Last Friday, the CFP board, which oversees Certified Financial Planners, presented proposed revisions to CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct. These proposed revisions include a recommendation that a CFP "must always place the interest of the client ahead of his certificant is providing financial planning or material elements of the financial care owed to clients is that of a fiduciary as defined by CFP Board."
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisers is also proposing fiduciary standards. Here's an interesting take on the issue from Morris Armstrong, an adviser I've known for quite some time.