Sunday, August 16, 2009
Fiduciary Duties of Brokers-Advisers-Financial Planners and Money Managers, by Tamar Frankel, Boston University School of Law, was recently posted on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Broker dealers and investment advisers form the lifeline of the financial markets. While in the past their functions were separate, and their regulation differed, throughout the years their functions were allowed to merge but their regulation remained separate. Advisers are their clients’ fiduciaries. Brokers are not, with some exceptions. It is recognized that the law has to change, and the question is how. In this Article I argue for imposing the fiduciary duty of loyalty and limiting conflict of interest all financial intermediaries, including broker dealers, and suggest a process for establishing the details of the law that should apply to them. Section One of the Article outlines the principles on which fiduciary law is based. Section Two offers a short overview of the past and current practice of broker dealers. Section Three highlights the fiduciary aspects of broker dealers and the risks posed to their clients from their conflicts of interest Section Four proposes changes in the current law and a process to achieve future changes. The law should impose principles; the financial intermediaries should seek the specificity.