Von Aldo

Credit Card Agreements Are 31 Pages. FAs, Welcome the New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

According to Overlawyered.com, a fabulous website by a Cato scholar, "Credit card agreements now average 31 pages long."

Poinoflaw.com explains the bloat this way: "The reason that credit-card contracts are 31 pages long is because your trial-lawyer buddies persistently sued credit-card companies for failure to disclose, and the lawyers kept making them add more and more to credit-card contracts to settle past or avoid future lawsuits. And all of this could have been avoided if you permit credit-card customers to opt out of the expensive and inefficient legal system that requires such overdisclosure, except your future Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is almost certain to bar consumer choice to agree to arbitrate these disputes."

Disclosure? Does that ring a bell? Then you've got risk profiles and suitability issues to document. I looked at brokerage account forms of a couple of brokerages and the forms were only 13 or so pages long. One wonders, however, how long the forms may be once the SEC is done "reforming" how financial advisors deal with the investing public (fiduciary advice v. suitability borkerage). Congress gave the SEC the authority to put brokerages under the fiduciary standard (The Investment Advisers Act of 1940), but the SEC is studying the matter for six months. And then it will decide.

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