Two opposing points of view were presented in the October 30th feature article in Advisorone.com by reporter Gil Weinreich, who interviewed Patrick Burns, securities lawyer from Beverly Hills, who represents RIA clients; and veteran recruiter Mark Ezweig, the New York-based principal of Mark Ezweig Co.
The basis for each argument:
Burns backs his RIA clients in wanting to see “the playing field leveled in terms of disclosures”. His RIA clients must disclose all forms of direct and indirect compensation and conflicts of interest, including soft dollars and any additional benefits that an advisor gets for using a certain custodial platform.
For instance, if an advisor had additional benefits from a third-party money management firm, all that would have to be disclosed to clients. He believes It would follow that brokers should have the same obligation to disclose any bonuses.
Ezweig argues that there is “no mystery” about wirehouse cost structure.
“Soft dollar trading costs are part of what investors pay for trades. The fact that the upfront bonuses are factored in the fees and commissions are fully disclosed by the wirehouses. If an investor feels that charges are too high relative to the value that they received they can and often do go elsewhere. The percentage of firm revenues that are reserved for compensation is very public and a hot topic on Wall Street and in the news.”
For more backup on these two viewpoints, you can read the full article, but don’t look for anything to change soon.