Thursday, February 7, 2019

Fiduciary Debate Takes to the States

Many years ago, this blog looked at the federal government's movement toward an expanded fiduciary standard.

At the time, we noted the concern that
"a universal fiduciary standard could end up hurting many investors...Higher costs could prompt some brokers to drop commission-based accounts in favor of more-lucrative accounts that charge a percentage of assets under management, leaving many lower- and middle-income investors without anyone to turn to for investment advice."
With the federal effort stopped by courts, now comes word that states like Nevada, New Jersey and Maryland may adopt a standard.  

The concern for small savers remains.  As one Maryland stakeholder said:

"We strongly urge the legislature to think twice about a bill that would do more harm than good to the Marylanders it is intended to benefit," Bruce Ferguson, senior vice president for state relations at the American Council of Life Insurers, said in a statement. "It will deny many savers in the state access to vital financial and retirement security products at the very time they are most needed, especially by low- and moderate-income Marylanders."
With reports continuing to show most Americans do not have enough savings for retirement, it is important to tread carefully.  Denying small savers access to safe, affordable professionals and products would likely do more harm than good.