Thanks, Merrill Lynch! You’re making it easier for independent advisors

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Nick Foy, CFP®

To much fanfare, Merrill Lynch had previously announced that their “advisors” would be adopting the fiduciary standard, per the Department of Labor requirement that was supposed to have been enacted by now.

Now that the rule won’t be put in place, Merrill has changed their minds.

It seems that Merrill is backtracking on their prior promise to put the clients’ interest first. Instead, they’ll once again allow their “advisors” to push commission-based products that probably aren’t the best thing for their client.

Consider me relieved.

It’s a lot harder to differentiate our services if everyone is acting in a fiduciary capacity.

I’m sorry for those clients that are already embedded in the Merrill platform, with their hidden fees and murky revenue structure. Luckily, better options exist, and there’s really no reason to maintain assets with advisors who are selling products.  

The future of financial planning and investment management belongs to those firms that are the most transparent, most straightforward, and most ethical, with the fewest conflicts of interest. It’s only a matter of time before conflict-laden firms are mostly an afterthought. Good riddance.

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