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May 27, 2015

Wall St watchdog says Labor Dept. broker rule ‘not the way to go’

“A U.S. Labor Department plan to reduce conflicts with brokers who offer retirement account advice drew criticism from the chief of Wall Street’s self-funded regulator on Wednesday, who said it would shift enforcement from regulators to investors.

“The plan, unveiled in April, aims to ensure that brokers offering retirement account advice do not steer customers into high-fee products that boost brokers’ commissions. Brokers would sign contracts, promising to act in investors’ best interests .

“The remarks by Richard Ketchum, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) chairman and chief executive, could help bolster the arguments of the brokerage industry which has been fiercely lobbying against the Labor Department’s rulemaking effort.”

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“Some investor advocacy groups fired back at Ketchum in statements.

“It is revealing, but not surprising, that the head of Wall Street’s self-regulator would be against requiring Wall Street’s brokers to act in their clients’ best interest rather than in the brokers’ own economic interests,” said Dennis Kelleher, president and chief executive of Washington-based Better Markets.

“Wall Street conflicts of interest cost investors $17 billion a year, Kelleher said.”

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Read the full Reuters article by Suzanne Barlyn here.

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