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Do you think brokers should act in your best interest?

If so, this is the last day to tell that to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency, as part of the new financial reform law, is studying whether brokers owe a duty to put clients first. Right now, they are only required to suggest "suitable investments."

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Investment advisers, who are often financial planners and money managers, have had a "fiduciary duty" to clients first for about 70 years.

This is a big deal. Your broker can recommend a "suitable" mutual fund but not have to tell you that it also pays a whopping commission that eats away at your return.

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In response to my article on the controversy Sunday, Knut Rostad, who wants brokers to also have a fiduciary duty, wrote:

"I would only add that the legal differences between the two classes of investment professionals is far greater than generally understood and characterized by many investment professionals, in terms of what is required by law. An investment fiduciary must: only recommend products he or she believes are in the best interest of the client; either avoid or disclose AND manage important conflicts of interest; disclose (before the transaction) all fees, expenses, incentives and associated costs, and must, generally, control investment expenses. A broker who only meets the minimum requirements of the suitability standard is required to do none of these. In a nutshell, a broker is permitted by law, similar to other sales professionals following the law, to pursue his or her interests ahead of consumers' interests."

You can submit your own thoughts online to the SEC, which is taking public comment on the matter through today.

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