Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



When buying stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities, individuals seeking advice typically turn to broker-dealers or investment advisers before they invest. In many cases, brokers and advisers perform similar functions but they are regulated differently under laws enacted during the Great Depression. Regulators are considering ways to harmonize the regulation of these professionals, but harmonization is fraught with difficulties. This chapter discusses the debate over harmonization and explains how the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the courts, and Congress have responded. The chapter concludes with insights into considerations that will likely determine how the harmonization debate will be resolved.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2013 publication: The Market for Retirement Financial Advice.


Broker-dealer, investment adviser, securities regulation, financial regulation, fiduciary duty, Dodd-Frank Act, financial regulatory reform, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the authors and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2012 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 28 June 2019