News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community


Alexander Acosta's DOL rule letter to WSJ contains double message and one long-term objective: 'Gut' it

Labor Secretary explains that flouting administrative rule is counterproductive but his comments to Wall Street Journal 'parrot' the brokerage lobby line, reassuring them that larger effort to kill the regulation is on track

Author Brooke Southall May 23, 2017 at 7:29 PM
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Micah Hauptman: [Acosta's] comments suggest that [he] has pre-judged the outcome of the reconsideration and may plan to gut core provisions of the rule.

RIA Compliance

Skip Schweiss

Skip Schweiss

May 24, 2017 — 3:55 AM
So much negativity on this development! Can we take a step back, and possibly acknowledge that once this battle is 'over', investors will be in a better place? I am 100% confident of that. But then again, my glass is always half-full.
brooke southall

brooke southall

May 24, 2017 — 4:58 AM
Skip, I can point you toward a stack of press releases whose writers see the glass as brimming over. That's the job of the special interests to produce those. Our job is to seek out potential issues. When Acosta writes: "This administration presumes that Americans can be trusted to decide for themselves what is best for them." ... well, we stick to the journalism playbook because that sure has echoes of the old Wall Street playbook. -Brooke


May 24, 2017 — 12:34 PM
I'm going to ask a silly question and/or seek comments pertaining to this- Acosta writes: "This administration presumes that Americans can be trusted to decide for themselves what is best for them." To what degree does one believe the advisor community has demonstrated trust to do what is right for their client?
brooke southall

brooke southall

May 24, 2017 — 6:00 PM
FAA, First, my silly queastions. By what do you mean the 'advisor community' -- RIAs, brokers, all of above? And what is the measurable product of trust that would satisfy you? -Brooke


May 24, 2017 — 6:22 PM
All of the above- measurable product...transparency of all fees, documentation and demonstration of a prudent process (prudence is a major tenant of the fiduciary standard), defendability of process and implementation...how about starting with things like that.
Carl E. Johnson, Jr.

Carl E. Johnson, Jr.

May 24, 2017 — 6:25 PM
Acosta writes: "This administration presumes that Americans can be trusted to decide for themselves what is best for them." He left out after "Americans" and before "can" the words "who are members of the advisor community."
Stephen Winks

Stephen Winks

June 2, 2017 — 8:26 PM
Acosta is begging for industry leadership when Wall Street is turning a deaf ear. There can be no informed consumer choice unless there is a free market alternative from which to choose. Wall Street is unwilling. This is dangerous for entrenched Wall Street interests as they are betting a lower cost far higher level of fiduciary counsel will not emerge which would outdate conventional high cost, low value added conventional brokerage. Wall Street is not in the advice business, never has been. The solution in its entirety will not come from Wall Street principally because trade execution must be treated as a cost center to be minimized. Yet, machine learning algorithms utilizing real time client holdings data emerging within a few major firms have great promise. Anything code driven can be commercially viable at very low cost which resolve a lot of problems in support of fiduciary duty. The real problem is these advances require advisors to actively manage an unlimited number of custom accounts which is easily possible yet the industry is still trying to put a square peg of advisory services in a round hole of conventional brokerage. The most direct path to continuous, comprehensive counsel of fiduciary duty has nothing to do with conventional brokerage.. Wall Street's push back is simply a diversion, a well delineated prudent process incorporating modernity in portfolio construction now glimmering at major firms is the choice which will reorder the industry around low cost far higher value added advisory services. SCW

Related Moves

March 5, 2021 at 1:16 AM

Second Betterment exec departs as new CEO Sarah Levy orients to her first month on the job and is confronted by personnel matters

Chief operating officer Dustin Lucien is the latest to leave the New York City robo-advisor, one of at least eight positions open as it prepares a push across multiple business lines to ignite growth.

January 19, 2021 at 6:32 PM

Jon Stein ousts himself as Betterment CEO and taps Sarah Levy, who joins an exclusive club of top women executives, with a mission -- an IPO

The co-founder of the New York robo-advisor headhunted the ex-Viacom brass through Harvard professors on the down low to ostensibly scale operations.

December 8, 2020 at 5:27 PM

Mentioned in this article:

Pension Resource Institute, LLC
Compliance Expert
Top Executive: Jason C. Roberts

Betterment, LLC
Financial Planning Software
Top Executive: Jon Stein

Retirement Law Group, PC

Top Executive: Jason C. Roberts

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