Don't brokers have a responsibility to their clients?

DEAR HARRY: I always thought that stockbrokers were required to act for you in all situations without considering the effect on their income. Apparently this is not so. I was told last night that they can push securities, etc., that earn the highest commissions even if the product is not suitable for you as an investor. Wasn't there a lot of smoke a while ago about reform that would force these toads to operate solely for the benefit of the investors? Shouldn't we be protected by the government? What's the deal here, Harry?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Score another point for the lobbyists. Their defense is primarily that it would be too tough and too expensive to implement a fiduciary duty to the client. To which many on your side cry "nonsense" and worse. Just what is wrong with imposing the same responsibility that we now require for trustees and executors? I like to know that relying on a broker means that my investments are his only concern, not the inducements of more commissions and job promotions. In the meantime, do a little self-protection. Make certain that your broker and his company may not sell or buy without your written approval.

Lean on your elected representatives and senators to get the fiduciary responsibility into the current rules.

Email Harry Gross at, or

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross.