"The firms know what sells to the public," said Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the CFA and a co-author of the report.
"They know if they want to attract business, they have to portray themselves as fiduciary advisors," she said.
The Department of Labor is set to roll out a rule on April 10 that would require broker-dealers and financial advisors to offer advice putting the client's best interests first when giving guidance about retirement accounts such as IRAs. The regulation does not apply to regular brokerage investment accounts.
"SIFMA has long supported a best interest standard for broker-dealers across all retail investment accounts, not just retirement accounts," wrote Kenneth E. Bentsen, president and CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a New York and Washington, D.C.-based organization that represents broker-dealers and banks, in an email.
"We continue to believe that the Securities and Exchange Commission, not the DOL, is the agency to create a best-interest standard to protect retail investors, and we will continue to advocate to make that happen," he wrote.