While a recent court ruling helps clarify the murky differences between brokers and financial advisers, it may also hurt investors who were happy with their broker-advisers, writes St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist David Nicklaus, and also raises questions about fee-based accounts. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association spokesman Travis Larson said SIFMA had been talking with the Securities and Exchange Commission about preserving the fee-based accounts. "There are pathways by which they could both abide by the court ruling and maintain these types of accounts in some fashion," Larson said.

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