Commission-Based Clients Are Going to Leave If Their Advisors Switch to a Lower-Cost, Fee-Only Model

By Rick Kahler via

I recently learned about an unexpected response to the new Department of Labor rule which mandates that all financial advisors and brokers act as fiduciaries (that is, in the best interest of the consumer) when dealing with customers’ retirement plans. This means brokers will be discouraged from selling high fee and commission products to a customer’s IRA or similar retirement plan. The ruling may force many brokers to revamp for IRA products that have lower fees and commissions.

However, according to a J. D. Power survey as reported in Financial Planning, customers are not happy with their brokers charging them lower fees. While the survey found that the clients of fee-only advisors were “generally more satisfied with what they pay their firm,” it also found that commission-based clients are going to leave in droves if their advisors switch to a lower-cost, fee-only model.

Let me get this straight. A broker who until now has owed no fiduciary duty to the customer, and who sells high fee and commission products to that customer, will now be forced by their company to place the consumer’s interest first.

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