Programming note: Money Stuff will be off tomorrow and Friday, back on Monday, Nov. 11.
There are two basic ways to regulate people who try to give other people suggestions on what to do with their investments. We can call them “fraud” and “fiduciary duty,” without insisting too much on the technical meanings of those terms. Some people who give suggestions are advisers, and give advice to clients, and have duties to those clients to be careful and loyal and honest. If I am your retirement financial adviser I have certain fiduciary duties to you; if I manage a mutual fund I have certain fiduciary duties to that fund (and, thus, its investors). I have to do the best job I can for you, rather than putting my own selfish interests first, that sort of thing.