Regulators are starting to take a closer look at the prevalent practice at many brokerages of switching customers from traditional, commission-based accounts to asset-, or fee-based accounts, according to a BusinessWeek article.

Fee-based accounts, or accounts that carry an annual fee based on a percentage of assets instead of trading commissions, were introduced to reduce complaints of churning--excessive trading done by brokers to generate commissions. Churning complaints have gone down by 43% over the past four years.

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