Thursday, October 29, 2020

New Report on Regulation Best Interest

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) recently released a new report aimed at "identify a baseline of broker-dealer (“BD”) and investment adviser (“IA”) firm policies, procedures, and practices involving sales to retail investors, as those policies, procedures, and practices existed in 2018 prior to adoption and release of the final rule by the SEC (the “pre-BI period”)."  NASAA will do a second look later to see how Regulation Best Interest changes sales patterns.  My early prediction:  not much.

As it stands, some of the differences between the BD channel and the IA channel are shocking.  You're nine times as likely to get sold a non-traded REIT by a BD than by an IA.  Across the board, BDs load investors up with riskier, complex products:

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This doesn't surprise me.  Many of these complex products pay massive commissions to the brokers who sell them.  Unsurprisingly, they tend to get sold more often through that channel.  The IA channel compensates advisers differently and they lack the same incentive to get their clients into variable annuities and other complex, illiquid products.

Looking forward, if Regulation Best Interest has some meaningful effect, we would expect these numbers to change in some significant way.  I doubt that it will.

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