Robert H. Gertner of Chicago's Booth School of Business has a particularly interesting piece, Consumer Protection Bureau Can Teach Financial Self-Help, on the limits of disclosures, the need for financial counselors, and how to make such counseling better and more accessible. Here's an excerpt:
The only regulatory regime that has a chance of making substantial progress is one that helps the market-based solution for advice work better. Structuring disclosure regulation to make advice markets more efficient rather than to make disclosure more understandable to consumers should be a goal. For example, my Chicago Booth colleague Richard Thaler has recommended requiring standard machine-readable disclosure of all financial terms to reduce the costs of comparisons across offerings. In a world of individualized offerings, the savings could be huge.
A second policy is for the government to develop an effective certification program for consumer financial advisers. In addition to knowledge requirements, the government would require that advisers have no financial incentives to prefer some products to others. Rather than teaching financial literacy, outreach programs could focus on educating consumers on the need for a competent, unbiased, certified financial adviser.
In another piece, Bloomberg reports Senators Introduce Bill for Counseling on Private Student Loans.