What do we mean when we talk about investors’ rights?
Investor rights are non-negotiable. They’re the principles that should undergird financial industry practices and securities laws. What’s legal isn’t just the minimum standard necessary. In many cases it’s totally inadequate to the task of safeguarding investors’ interests.
One example of this is in the area of confidentiality. Americans tend to think that their securities laws are the best out there, but this is an area where our societal mores and expectations lag behind Europe’s. In general, investors should expect that information they share within a fiduciary relationship will remain within that relationship, and won’t be disclosed to others unless they need to know it to serve that relationship. This should apply to everything—not just finances.
But in a tell-all celebrity culture where cell-phone cameras and digital recorders are ubiquitous, privacy seems almost quaint. Some folks even worry now about having their bank statements mailed to them, out of concern about the Postal Service—which doesn’t seem that outlandish, lately.
Collecting information and using it for anything other than an investor’s interest should be seen as deeply immoral. Anything less is unacceptable.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer