States could be the next battleground over the fiduciary debate.

The approval by the SEC of its long-awaited Regulation Best Interest on Wednesday may have put to rest some of the regulatory uncertainty, but officials at TD Ameritrade are still watching state efforts to impose higher standards for advisors.

“We’re concerned about there being 52 standards out there,” said Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional. “What a challenge that would be for advisors and broker-dealers.”

Nevada in particular had a proposal that was “overly broad,” Nally told Financial Advisor during the firm’s Elite Linc conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

The impact could be felt especially on the retail side. TD Ameritrade serves “an enormous base of clients. We call them empowered clients, but they’re basically do-it-yourself people who want to be in control, and we have a ton of educational content and research tools we make available to them," Nally said. "Based on some interpretations [of Nevada’s proposal], that would be considered fiduciary advice.

“We’ll see if Reg BI causes the states to take a bit of a step back,” Nally added.

The firm and some of its advisors have been concerned that the new rule won’t clear up confusion among investors, but Nally said the impact will depend on how Reg BI is implemented.

“What does the language look like, and that four-page disclosure document? ... Is the language going to be simplistic so people can understand it? Or overly complex?”

Meanwhile, Nally hopes some of the confusion over TD’s own channel conflict has been cleared up. Advisors had been uncertain about how much competition they might face from the firm’s expanded retail branch network, but in February at the firm’s all-hands RIA meeting, Nally and Tim Hockey, TD Ameritrade president and chief executive, sought to put those worries to rest.  

“There was a bit of ambiguity as to what the path forward was in the branches,” Nally said. “There were some questions [like] are we going to start to have advisors in the branches managing books of business? We were trying to figure that out three or four years ago, then the Scottrade opportunity came up, which put that strategic review on hold. Once that (Scottrade) acquisition was done, we went back to the strategy table and really did a deep dive into how we wanted to compete [in the retail space]. We came out pretty strongly about not competing with advisors and being focused on that empowered client on the retail side.”

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