Imagine if the federal government in one radical swoop altered the way the financial advisory world operates. Under this vision, the government bans most commissions, requires all professionals who offer anything remotely akin to personal financial advice to assume fiduciary obligations, sets a rule calling for these professionals once a year to present their clients with a detailed list of all fees charged and to renew opt-in commitments every two years if they want to continue to get paid.

Actually, no imagination is necessary. All this occurred six months ago in Australia, home to roughly 2% of the world's investors. In July 2013, the Australian government began implementing Future of Financial Advice legislation, better known as FOFA. The changes mandated by FOFA included a ban on commissions (except for those paid for insurance products), requirements that all financial advisory professionals assume fiduciary obligations, renew client opt-ins every other year and provide reams of fee information to their clients.

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