The portfolio manager who first brought public attention to the abuses of high-frequency traders—and appears as a minor character in Michael Lewis’ book Flash Boys—says the worst practices aren’t happening any more. “The markets are stronger than ever.”
Recently, REP.s’ online domain Wealthmanagement.com surveyed over 300 Certified Financial Planners to ask their opinion on the value of the CFP designation in the wake of recent fee-disclosure controversies as well as a $40 million “awareness” campaign. Soon after appearing online, the Board asked for room to print a response. Given our role to facilitate conversation among industry stakeholders, we agreed.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority should be used to criticism by now, both from those who think the industry’s self-regulatory organization doesn’t go far enough in keeping bad brokers and Wall Street firms in check, to those who complain the authority wields an unholy power of destruction by over-burdening innocent and hardworking reps with cumbersome regulations and arbitrary enforcement.
This is the fourth year the staff of REP. magazine has put together the Independent Broker/Dealer Report Card. We surveyed a total of 2,649 advisors across 22 brokerages to get their views on the industry and what they think about the firms they work with.
The conventional wisdom on high-frequency trading is that it hurts no one and in fact makes market more liquid. Retail investors therefore benefit from the algorithm-driven, split-second trades that make up more than half of the activity on a given exchange.
We’ve taken no formal poll, but anecdotal conversations with several financial advisors in recent weeks lead me to believe that many are stymied by the increasingly perplexing options confronting individual investors.
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