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The brokerage business is moving toward a fiduciary rule whether they like it or not

·Former Correspondent

President Donald J. Trump signed an executive memorandum last week to delay implementing the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, which was finalized during the Obama administration.

The DOL’s fiduciary rule impacts retirement accounts by requiring brokers to uphold a fiduciary duty and put clients’ interest ahead of the firm. It was supposed to effective in April 2017.

Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck, who served as a bank CFO during the crisis, has been vocal about the need for a fiduciary standard for a decade. SEC-registered investment advisors, like Krawcheck’s Ellevest, are required to operate as fiduciaries, meaning in the best interests of clients. Broker-dealers are not required to act as fiduciaries.

“I’ve been on record for this for a decade, which is that I think the industry should go to one, with a fiduciary standard, but also take whatever is better about the broker-dealer standard —and there are some things — and either get rid of them for broker-dealers, or bring the whole industry up. Take the best of the broker-dealer, take the best of fiduciary…I think that will help the quality of advice that’s given, ” Krawcheck told Yahoo Finance’s Myles Udland at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York.

Fellow panelist Jon Stein, the CEO of robo-advisor Betterment, noted that DOL estimates that Americans lose $17 billion a year on conflicted advice.

“Clearly, we should get rid of that $17 billion loss. And think about what kind of environment we want our kids to grow up in. We want them to grow up in a world where they can trust financial advisors. Absolutely!” Stein exclaimed.

Krawcheck added that consumers need to look at the platforms out there because not all fiduciaries are the same.

“Even if the rule is codified or not, this is where the industry is moving by itself. Whether or not the rule becomes law or not, just by client demand, this is where a lot of firms are moving with or without it,” Morgan Housel of Collaborative Fund said.


Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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