If you listen to the industry chatter, it appears Gary Gensler, Biden’s head of the SEC, may be poised to define “best interest” as part of the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. If advisors recall, when the BI rule was first proposed the main criticism was that they did not define the term “best interest”. Many thought this would allow loopholes, while the SEC said it would make enforcement stronger because by defining a term, it actually creates ways around it. According to Blaine Aikin, from Broadridge, “I think there’s an appetite for the Biden administration … We’ve had certain calls from many different audiences: ‘Wouldn’t it have been better if the SEC had actually defined best interest?”. Aikin added that he believes there is “huge collaboration” going on between the SEC and DOL on the topic of Reg BI and Fiduciary Rule synergy.
FINSUM: The big question here is whether a definition of the term will somehow change enforcement in some way. It seems a toss-up as to whether the definition creates loopholes or weakens them, but for the average advisor enforcement makes all the difference.