Jun 6, 2019

The SEC's new financial adviser rule gets mixed reviews

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton testifies during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The SEC has passed Regulation Best Interest, a new rule requiring stockbrokers and financial advisers to act in the best interest of their clients.

Yes, but: There are some caveats. The rule does not require brokers to recommend the lowest-cost mutual funds or other types of products, something the financial industry opposed. Critics also are wary of the lack of enforcement mechanisms.

  • Reactions were incredibly mixed, with even SEC officials delivering strongly worded rebukes of the decision.

What they're saying:

  • SEC chairman Jay Clayton: "Regulation Best Interest will substantially enhance the broker-dealer standard of conduct."
  • SEC commissioner Robert Jackson, the lone vote against the proposal in a 3-1 decision: "Regulation Best Interest lowers the bar we set in last year's proposal." It's a "weak mix of measures" that does not even define the term best interest.
  • Investment Company Institute president and CEO Paul Schott Stevens: "Regulation Best Interest will better serve investor interests by ensuring investors are afforded strong protections when they receive recommendations from broker-dealers."
  • Christine Lazaro, president of Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association: "With the new rule, investors are left believing that their brokers will do what is best for them, when in fact, their brokers may still be influenced by insidious conflicts of interest."
  • John Lukanski, a partner at law firm Reed Smith, told Financial Planning: "My overall sense is that there is this promise of clarity, but in reality we are going to get a bunch of chaos."

Go deeper: Financial advisers may be forced to look out for clients again

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected more than 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. N.Y. has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: U.K. PM "stable, improving" in intensive care

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff" in the intensive care unit of London's St. Thomas' Hospital, where he is being treated for the coronavirus, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden told the BBC Thursday.

Zoom in: The update comes as ministers meet to discuss whether to extend the United Kingdom's lockdown and after the country's health officials reported Wednesday the highest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths — 938, taking the total to over 7,300. London Mayor said Wednesday the U.K. is "nowhere near lifting the lockdown," with the virus not expected to peak there until next week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,484,811 — Total deaths: 88,538 — Total recoveries: 329,876Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 432,132 — Total deaths: 14,817 — Total recoveries: 23,906Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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