When Congress passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (aka "Dodd-Frank") in the summer of 2010, it neither reformed Wall Street nor protected consumers. Indeed, it did worse. It institutionalized "too big to fail," thus, removing all accountability from large Wall Street firms by protecting them, not their customers. It has since become a Rorschach test to determine whether you're more of a politician (you believe the rhetoric of Dodd-Frank) or a mathematician (you can see through that rhetoric and into the underlying reality of just what Dodd-Frank has done).

It appears likely we may soon be saying the same thing about the DOL's new "conflict of interest" (aka fiduciary) rule. It neither removes conflicts of interest, nor does it stay true to the meaning of fiduciary.

First, the idea of eliminating conflict of interest fees is an honorable cause. In short, these fees include the three most conspicuous atrocities of commissions, 12b-1fees, and revenue sharing. While all fees are suitable (and important) for the brokerage industry (where an agency relationship exists), they are undeniably inappropriate for the adviser industry (where a fiduciary relationship exists). To argue otherwise would require you to ignore the centuries of trust law and case law whereby fiduciaries must never engage in self-dealing transactions.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal FiduciaryNews.com and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christophercarosa/)and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisCarosa).