WASHINGTON, D.C.— Stephen Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist, issued the following statement on today’s decision in Robinhood Financial LLC v. Galvin, from the Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, reversing a lower-court judge’s decision that struck down the state’s fiduciary duty rule. Better Markets filed an amicus curiae brief in the case supporting Sect. Galvin and protecting investors.
“Too many retail investors are ripped off by their brokers who put their financial interests above the best interests of their clients. The SEC’s mis-named “best interest” rule didn’t fix that conflict of interest so Massachusetts stepped in with its own rule requiring brokers to act in the best interests of their clients—a standard that Robinhood was charged with violating.
“Robinhood launched a legal attack on the state’s rule, gaining a victory in the lower state court. Fortunately, Massachusetts’ highest court has reversed that decision and squarely upheld the state’s rule requiring that investors’ interests be put first. The Court rejected claims that the Secretary overstepped the bounds of his statutory authority. And, as Better Markets argued in its amicus brief, the Court also held that the rule is not preempted by the SEC’s own grossly inadequate “best interest” rule.
“This is a huge victory Main Street investors. We commend Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin for taking bold action to compensate for the weak federal standards governing broker advisers. Without investor protections like the Massachusetts rule, working families will continue to fall victim to adviser conflicts of interest. Those conflicts incentivize broker-dealers to recommend investments based on the profits they can extract, not on what’s best for their clients. At least in Massachusetts, important safeguards have been restored and other states should do the same.”
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.