Investors are not confused. They do not lack the capacity to think through the information they are given. They are not “forgetful.” However, they do misunderstand how brokers and advisers differ because the information they get from the industry is unclear or misleading.
Testimony of Tamar Frankel, LL.M. S.J.D. Professor of Law EmeritaBoston University School of LawBefore the N.J. Bureau of Securities Re: Fiduciary Duty/Pre-Proposal on November 19, 2018
“Proposal Reg BI fails to explain best interest; however, it explains why conflicts can be beneficial” – Knut A. Rostad
New research white paper by Knut A. Rostad and Darren M. Fogarty: SEC Office of the Investor Advocate / RAND study offers new insights into retail investor, financial reps misunderstandings of brokers and advisers; study offers guidance for Reg BI. View complete paper
In 2016 and 2017, the Consumer Federation of America reported in three separate comment letters that 34 financial firms changed their products and/or product offerings to comply with the DOL Fiduciary Rule. They did so against a backdrop of industry criticism that the Rule would be harmful not only to their own business models, but to their customers and clients as well. Some of the very same firms heftily contributed to that backdrop. However, in announcing their new products and offerings, many of these same firms reversed their position on the impact on investors. Now, they believe such changes are overdue, prudent, and beneficial to customers. Why the switch? And will such product improvements survive the recent vacatur of the DOL Rule? Time will tell.
The mere presence of an observer, while an individual is reading a disclosure, can impede their ability to make informed decisions, while mandatory waiting periods have a positive effect on consumers’ ability to make informed decisions. Here the Institute summarizes this research.