Massachusetts Small Business Owner Opposes Fiduciary-Only Proposal

Jan 24, 2020

At a recent hearing in Boston, a long line of local citizens voiced opposition to the Massachusetts Commonwealth Secretary’s proposed elitist fiduciary-only standard for financial advice. This week in the Boston Globe, local business owner Joan Jaeger Gustaff outlined why she opposes the rule, which could become effective within weeks. The people of Massachusetts would be best served if the Secretary of the Commonwealth listens to local voices like Joan’s and reconsiders his fiduciary-only proposal. Here’s what she had to say:

This letter to the editor originally ran in the Boston Globe.

It’s not just Wall St. that’s wary of Galvin’s proposed rule on brokers

“Wall Street” isn’t alone in opposing a fiduciary-only standard for financial advice (“Brokers battle to put Galvin’s planned rule on hold,” Chesto Means Business, Jan. 8). Local small-business owners like me would also be affected negatively by the rule changes proposed by Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

While I am knowledgeable in my field, I don’t understand investment savings. I had saved my money in a 1 percent interest savings account. My professional organization recommended a financial adviser. Many investment advisers require a minimum of $250,000 to $500,000 to begin working with investors. That was 10 times more than I had to start with. Despite my small savings, this adviser was willing to work with me.

Over the years, I have added fee-based and commission-based investments to my portfolio. I have been able to diversify my portfolio because I have had some choices about commission-based products I could invest in, with smaller amounts of money, that have proved to be more cost-effective for me.

This month, I was able to retire and register for my Social Security benefit. If this proposed rule had been in effect, I would still have my savings in a 1 percent savings account and be working and worrying about how I could pay my bills in the future.

Joan Jaeger Gustaff

North Attleborough

Bruce Ferguson

Bruce Ferguson was Senior Vice President, Economic Empowerment & Racial Equity at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). He oversaw all of ACLI’s integrated efforts to implement its multifaceted Economic Empowerment & Racial Equity Initiative. Previously, Bruce served as ACLI’s Senior Vice President, State Relations.