How is a broker different from a fee-only RIA?

Brokers are held to a less stringent ethical code than RIAs since brokers are required by the SEC to recommend products that are suitable for their clients and not necessarily in the best interest of clients. The suitability standard requires that adviser’s investment recommendations must fit clients’ investing objectives, time horizon and experience. Under this standard of care, they can recommend products that pays them more as long as it’s suitable. An RIA is obligated to always act in the clients best financial interest and to offer the lowest-cost products that fit their needs.