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Text with word fiduciary. Iffiduciaries can no longer differentiate themselves fromnon-fiduciaries because “best interest” now applies to both, does“fiduciary” now become a distinction without a difference? (Photo:Shutterstock)

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Summer must be the silly season because for the second week in arow the topic conjures up an allusion to those great 20thcentury stand-up philosophers Monty Python.

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I mean, the reference in the title to the iconic scene (among many) in their smash hit movieMonty Python and the Holy Grail is so obvious, if you don't see itimmediately then just ask your family to bring you out to the curbbecause your dead.

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One that that's not dead, however, is the concept of fiduciary.Some may try to say fiduciary is dead, but it's actually feeling much better.

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Related: A timeline of the contentious fiduciaryrules

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Let's follow the logic of fiduciary's exaggerated death. Itsapparent demise began when the courts vacated the DOL'sConflict-of-Interest (a.k.a. “Fiduciary”) Rule. Some now feel theSEC's Regulation Best Interest has effectively diluted thesignificance of “fiduciary” by robbing it of its most compellingtrait: “best interest.”

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If fiduciaries can no longer differentiate themselves fromnon-fiduciaries because “best interest” now applies to both, does“fiduciary” now become a distinction without a difference?

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And with that question comes the inevitable conclusion that“fiduciary” is dead. It has lost all its panache. And with thatloss comes the loss of its value in the marketplace.

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So goes those who say the glass is half empty.

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But a half empty glass is also half full. And it is this bountywhich can breathe life back into fiduciary.

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You see, fiduciary, in its full meaning, extends well beyond“best interest.” Whether it's “duty” or “loyalty” or any otherchivalrous term you choose, fiduciary has a deep genealogy of caselaw no SEC regulation can ever mute. They might not have the samesnap as “best interest,” but, if we are to accept the wisdom oftrust precedent, they do have legal meaning, legaldifferentiation.

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And where there's a legal differentiation, cannot a marketingdifferentiation be far behind?

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Here's the best news: If we have learned anything from marketingbreakthroughs in other industries, the secret to the future offiduciary is something those in the industry take for granted. Infact, it's so familiar to them, they don't place any value toit.

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But clients will.

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The industry may not yet have discovered this secret, but“fiduciary” knows it's there. Yes, fiduciary is veryhappy. It may even get up and go for a walk.

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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).