Registered investment advisors may end up getting to know a new regulator, but the tougher fiduciary standard they live under will be extended to cover their broker-dealer rivals. That's the likeliest scenario after the SEC released a pair of long-awaited reports in January.

While RIAs are happy about the uniform standard of conduct, they are less pleased by the prospect of oversight by FINRA. "I fear regulation by FINRA because the regulatory burden would be unbearable," says Bob Christenson, CFP, an investment advisor at Net Worth Advisory Group, a fee-only planner in Sandy, Utah. The Investment Adviser Association (IAA), representing RIAs, issued a statement decrying a "lack of transparency and accountability of non-government regulators" from a self-regulatory organization (SRO), like FINRA. RIAs with $25 million or more in assets are currently regulated by the SEC, while their smaller cousins fall under state jurisdictions.

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