New Jersey is moving forward with rules that would impose on brokers a more stringent fiduciary standard for investment advice.

On Monday, the state’s Bureau of Securities announced that it will put into place a regulation creating a unified fiduciary standard for anyone providing investment recommendations, fleshing out expectations for financial advisors as well as brokers.

“The bureau believes that the proposed new rule is necessary to ensure that persons involved in the securities markets are uniformly held to a high standard in their dealings with the general public and is necessary to ensure the welfare of New Jersey investors,” wrote the agency in proposing the rule. “Moreover, the proposed new rule will establish a uniform standard for financial professionals and rectify investor confusion that results from the lack of uniformity.”

Since the agency already held a 60-day comment period for the proposed rule last year, no further comment period is required and the final rule will go into effect 90 days after its proposal at the earliest—meaning New Jersey’s unified fiduciary standard could be in place and enforced as soon as mid-July.

In late 2018, New Jersey sought out comments on the proposal, intended as a response to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed Regulation Best Interest, which state regulators argue “does not provide sufficient protections for New Jersey investors.”

The comment period for that rule ended on December 14, at which time the state’s Bureau of Securities said that a revised proposal would be made public in 60 to 90 days.

The new rule requires that brokers make recommendations without regard to their own or their company’s interests, financial or otherwise, and mandates that merely disclosing a potential conflict of interest is not enough to comply with the rule.

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