It may sound like heresy, but expanding the fiduciary standard is not in the best interest of consumers. Why not? Think beyond the typical mass-affluent client. What about those with limited incomes, no resources to pay for a financial plan or not enough assets to meet the minimum requirements for a fee-based account? Those families are the ones about to get crushed by regulators who haven't done their homework.

The Department of Labor finally realized its fiduciary rewrite was going to backfire and postponed rules that could have decimated access even to IRA advice. As I see it, regulators are slowing their fiduciary campaign for two reasons: the cost-benefit analysis of their proposal is nonexistent and they may realize the damage they were about to inflict on average investors. There is no clear evidence of consumer harm and no defined problem these regulators are trying to solve.

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