In mid-January, the SEC released its "Study on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers" to Congress. Analyzing the study provides an insightful look into how the SEC views the "harmonization" of two different regulatory structures.

When you finish the dissection process, the SEC's view is really not that complicated. The report makes few references to consumer protection. Instead it lingers on concerns about placing undue regulatory burden on the brokerage business model, on whether this or that proposal would disrupt brokerage industry operations, whether imposing a fiduciary standard would cause brokerage firms to bear the burden of additional costs and how that burden might be alleviated.

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