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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

Job gains slow sharply as U.S. adds 210k jobs in November

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate plummeted to 4.2% from 4.6%.

Why it matters: Job gains slowed sharply, but the labor market recovery remains on track.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.

Ina Fried, author of Login
4 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Huawei sanctions snarled chip supply chains

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largely successful U.S. effort to hobble China's Huawei has benefitted a host of other tech companies — from smartphone makers such as Apple and Xiaomi to chipmakers like Qualcomm to network vendors including Nokia and Ericsson.

Yes, but: The massive disruption to the industry furthered an industry wide mismatch between supply and demand, exacerbating the global chip shortage.