It’s a matter of caveat emptor: buyer beware. After many months of consideration, investor testing/surveying, and circa 6,000 comment letters, the SEC acted in early June 2019 to enhance the protection of retail investors while not materially disrupting the existing investment industry business models and the ability of investors to choose among different types of providers such as advisers and brokers. The key measures adopted are as follows:
• New Regulation BI (as in "Best Interest")…generally referred to as “Reg. BI;”
• New Form CRS (i.e., "Customer Relationship Summary");
• Interpretive advice re: an investment adviser's fiduciary duties; and
• An interpretation of the "solely incidental" aspect of the broker-dealer exclusion from the definition of an "investment adviser" under the Advisers Act.
The new Reg. BI will go into effect in about a year (following formal publication of the new regulation). Many think that this will bring an end to the long journey and discussion regarding fiduciary duties of advisers and brokers. In reality, it really is a matter of caveat emptor both for the industry and retail investors. Much will be written in the coming months about the likely impact of the new measures. As a practical matter, advisers and brokers must review their policies and procedures (such as disclosure and customer on-boarding processes) to assure compliance in the future.
PLEASE BE SURE TO CLICK THE HEADLINE TO THIS BLURB TO ACCESS AN EXTENSIVE RESOURCE COLLECTION ON THE NEW INITIATIVES. WE ARE ADDING TO THE REFERENCE LIST AS WE FIND MATERIALS.