Wall Street's strenuously objecting to a proposed new financial reform that could benefit millions of individual investors. If you disagree with the big investment banks' stance, the SEC wants to hear from you.
The SEC now has the power to extend a "fiduciary" standard to brokers who offer personalized investment guidance. That means they must dispense advice that's in their clients' best interest.
That hardly seems like a controversial concept -- but right now, brokers only have to recommend "suitable" investments. While a wide range of options may be suitable for each of us, not all of those choices are necessarily the best. Some brokers receive commissions for the products they sell, which can drive them to recommend "suitable" investments that will benefit their own bottom line far more than that of their clients.
In addition, extending the standard might leave some brokerages unable able to sell IPO shares to certain customers. Brokers that are also underwriting the new shares, for example, will have a conflict of interest. When they price the shares to benefit the issuer (i.e., as high as possible), they're not working in the best interest of prospective investors, who want to pay as little as possible.
Restrictions on IPO offerings shouldn't worry investors. Few of us can snag shares of hot IPOs upon their debut; in many cases, we'd do well to steer clear of IPOs, anyway. After their opening-day hype, they often burn out. Waiting until their price swings settle down can often be the best move.
Just this year, for example, Express
Perhaps the proposed new rule will lead more companies to offer new shares to the public directly, rather than by paying millions to underwriters. Google
We small investors stand to gain much more than we lose if the SEC extends the fiduciary standard to more advisors. Let the SEC know what you think; thus far, they've been hearing from far more Wall Streeters than Main Streeters. Just don't delay if you've got something to say -- the comment period ends Monday.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Google. The Fool owns shares of Google, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection and a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Try our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.