NELF Senior Staff Attorney Ben Robbins Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on Robinhood SJC Case
BOSTON – NELF’s Ben Robbins was quoted this week in the Massachusetts legal community’s newspaper of record, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, in the recently-decided Supreme Judicial Court case of Robinhood Financial LLC v. Secretary of the Commonwealth, et al. Contrary to NELF’s amicus brief in support of Robinhood to advance free enterprise and limited government, the SJC sided with the State Secretary to rule that the Secretary has the statutory authority to impose a fiduciary duty rule on broker-dealers, including Robinhood’s app. While the Court’s decision was cheered by consumer advocates, Robbins observed that the impact of the Court’s decision could be to limit investment choices available to small investors. As the SJC pointed out in a footnote, soon after the Department of Labor had promulgated regulations pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 through which most broker-dealers would similarly be deemed fiduciaries when they provided recommendations to retirement plan investors, industry studies began to emerge showing that industry participants had already or were planning to alter services and products available to retail customers, according to Robbins.