This blog post continues a series exploring the fiduciary rules proposed by the DOL and now the SEC. My previous blog posts can be found here.
On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, the SEC issued a number of rule proposals designed, in theory, to "unify" the obligations of registered representatives of broker dealers with those of registered investment advisors.
It does no such thing.
Broker-dealers and their registered representatives will not be fiduciaries under Regulation Best Interest. Investment advisors will remain fiduciaries.
Essentially, Regulation Best Interest will take many of the obligations that already exist in the FINRA Rules and Regulatory Notices and bring them under the SEC's aegis. Indeed, the SEC stated:
As discussed herein, some of the enhancements that Regulation Best Interest would make to existing suitability obligations under the federal securities laws, such as the collection of information requirement related to a customer's investment profile, the inability to disclose away a broker-dealer's suitability obligation, and a requirement to make recommendations that are "consistent with his customers' best interest," reflect obligations that already exist under the FINRA suitability rule or have been articulated in related FINRA interpretations and case law. (Emphasis added. Regulation Best Interest; 10)
This means the suitability standard will remain for registered representatives with some additional language about the "best interests" of the client. I will try to define exactly what the additional "best interest" language actually means in subsequent posts.
The SEC has released approximately 1,000 pages relating to this proposal. You can find the three related releases here:
- Release No. 34-83062; Regulation Best Interest;
- Release No. IA-4889; Proposed Commission Interpretation Regarding Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers; Request for Comment on Enhancing Investment Adviser Regulation;
- Release No. 34-83063; form CRS Relationship Summary; Amendments to Form ADV; Required Disclosures in Retail Communications and Restrictions on the use of Certain Names or Titles.
To learn more about fiduciary expert Jack Duval, click here.