July 30, 2010
I disagree that the fiduciary standard has protected consumers better. Basically, the fiduciary standard looks back and enforces breaches retroactively through SEC enforcement or private lawsuits. The suitability standard looks forward and tries to prevent harm to consumers through ongoing and frequent FINRA and broker-dealer audits and compliance processes.
Compliance costs-both in terms of finances and time-are high, and those costs are eventually felt by clients. Adding another layer of regulation means another layer of compliance, and even more cost to clients.