When I had a chance to ask Barbara Roper, director of Investor Protection for the Consumer Federation of America, questions for a story, I had a feeling she’d come out in favor of adopting a universal fiduciary standard. What surprised me, though, was the frankness of some of her answers (see “Exclusive Interview with CFA’s Barbara Roper: Why a Fiduciary Standard Helps All Investors and 401k Plan Sponsors,” FiduciaryNews.com, May 21, 2013). Whether is pinpointing the blame for the fiduciary mess directly on the SEC to explaining why she has less fear of regulator inaction than improper action on the part of regulators. 

But what I found most compelling, and worthy of thought by all those fiduciary advocates out there, was her belief we should do away with the term “fiduciary duty.” Unless and until we do so, despite her feeling investors are better off using a fiduciary advisor, she doesn’t think fiduciary advisors will successfully market themselves. 

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