What is the difference between an RIA and a Broker-Dealer?

Unlike an RIA, which is regulated by the SEC and held to fiduciary standards, registered representatives who are employed by a broker-dealer may be told what products to sell and regulated in how they conduct business. Instead of the requirement of following a fiduciary standard, broker-dealers must only justify that their recommendations are considered suitable for the client – leaving a large possibility for a conflict of interest. RIAs are typically considered to be providing advice, completely tailored to a client’s individual financial needs & best interests, as opposed to a “product pusher.”