May Day. ERISA. The Big Bang. MiFID. To asset-management and brokerage industry veterans these otherwise arcane names and phrases need no explanation. Each denotes a government regulation that completely redefined the competitive landscape for years to come: the unfixing of commission rates and the adoption of a fiduciary standard for pension management in the US during the 1970s, the deregulation of financial markets and elimination of fixed commissions in the UK in 1986 and a spate of new rules that broke down national-exchange monopolies in 2007 in the EU.
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