- May 1, 2016; Vol. 3, Number 5

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The Fiduciary Frenzy: Financial advisers are facing new obligations and liabilities regarding their clients

by Benjamin Cole

There are no free lunches in the world, and that includes Wall Street.

But many retirement planners can and do receive payments from providers of financial products and can thereby lower their fees on clients. Ideally, in this model the financial adviser becomes an industry-compensated gatekeeper, while still working on behalf of retail investors, including retirees.

The upshot: Lower fees for retail clients and sound financial planning.

Not everyone thinks the above scenario is the complete or true picture. President Obama and the U.S. Department of Labor say the industry- or fee-paid financial adviser is a defective business model, one of hidden charges and compromised integrity. To paraphrase an old maxim, he who pays the gold rules, and presently the investment-product industry, such as the mutual fund industry, is paying the gold to financial advisers at broker-dealers (which are also variously called securities firms, or stockbrokers, or independent broker

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