15 transformational events
'Merrill Lynch rule' spurs long debate
When the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed the broker-dealer exemption rule in 1999 — exempting fee-based brokerage accounts from fiduciary requirements — few realized that it would result in a lawsuit against the commission and provoke a long and contentious debate about fiduciary duty.
In 2004, the Financial Planning Association filed that lawsuit against the agency over the rule — litigation that ended up in a U.S. District Court of Appeals, which ruled in the FPA’s favor in 2007.
While the FPA won the battle, the fiduciary war is far from over. Indeed, a 2008 study confirmed what most in the industry knew: Investors assumed that advisers and brokers who offered the same services were held to the same standard of care.
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