Richard R.W. Brooks
This chapter examines the treatment of fiduciary law in the field of law and economics. It begins with a typology of three theoretical tracts that accounts for loyalty in economics: the first tract takes a structural approach to questions of loyalty and disloyalty based on models occupied by strictly rational economic agents who are unable to choose or act in any manner than that dictated by narrow self-interests; the second explains loyalty in terms of personal character or preferences for particular actions and choices; and the third approaches loyalty in terms of allegiances to relationships or associations and, more specifically, to their associated rules of conduct. The chapter then discusses these three theoretical tracts of loyalty by reviewing the law and economics literature on beneficiaries and fiduciaries in general, and principals and agents in particular. The discussion is organized along lines of the two branches of scholarship that defines the field of law and economics: institutional economic analysis and economic analysis of law.
Howell E. Jackson and Talia B. Gillis
This chapter explores the application of fiduciary duties to regulated financial firms and financial services. At first blush, the need for such a chapter might strike some as surprising in that fiduciary duties and systems of financial regulation can be conceptualized as governing distinctive and nonoverlapping spheres: fiduciary duties police private activity through open-ended, judicially defined standards imposed on an ex post basis, whereas financial regulations set largely mandatory, ex ante obligations for regulated entities under supervisory systems established in legislation and implemented through expert administrative agencies. Yet, as the chapter documents, fiduciary duties often do overlap with systems of financial regulation. In many regulatory contexts, fiduciary duties arise as a complement to, or sometimes substitute for, other mechanisms of financial regulation. Moreover, the interactions between fiduciary duties and systems of financial regulation generate a host of recurring and challenging interpretative issues. The chapter explores the reasons fiduciary duties arise so frequently in the field of financial regulation and provides a structured account of how the principles of fiduciary duties interact with the more rule-based legal requirements that characterize financial regulation. As grist for this undertaking the chapter focuses on a set of roughly two dozen judicial decisions and administrative rulings to illustrate its claims.
Andrew F. Tuch
This chapter examines fiduciary principles in banking law, focusing on both commercial and investment banking. It considers when fiduciary duties exist and what they require, the range of remedies available for breach, and the various techniques banks use to exclude or modify fiduciary duties. One puzzling feature of the legal landscape is that clients bring actions less often than banks’ size and conduct might suggest, contributing to legal uncertainty. Fiduciary law nevertheless constrains banks’ activities: courts have cast banks as fiduciaries in all of the major commercial and investment banking functions, including making loans and accepting deposits, advising on merger and acquisition transactions, and underwriting securities offerings, although banks face greater risk in some areas than others. Banks have responded by disclaiming fiduciary duties and using information barriers/Chinese walls, and yet recent judicial decisions refuse to accept these measures as automatically effective for avoiding fiduciary liability. Courts insist that they, rather than the parties themselves, determine whether fiduciary duties exist and what they require. The law thus diverges from some theoretical accounts of fiduciary doctrine, posing challenges for banks and new questions for scholars.
John A. E. Pottow
This chapter examines fiduciary duties in bankruptcy and insolvency, focusing on the bankruptcy trustee’s duties, which are triggered by virtue of appointment in a case. It first provides a background on bankruptcy law in order to elucidate the doctrines and rules affecting fiduciary responsibilities in bankruptcy, citing a number of relevant provisions in the Bankruptcy Code. It then considers the fiduciary, non-fiduciary, and anti-fiduciary obligations of the trustee under the Bankruptcy Code before discussing the fiduciary duties of care and loyalty. In particular, it highlights bankruptcy-related issues raised by the duty of loyalty with respect to secured creditors, priority unsecured creditors, general unsecured creditors, and debtors. It also explores the byzantine protective remedies available to trustees should there be a breach of fiduciary duty and concludes with an analysis of miscellaneous additional duties of the trustee in insolvency, as well as the unique challenges the debtor-in-possession (DIP) faces with its duty of loyalty. The chapter suggests that the Bankruptcy Code has many safeguards designed to confront conflicting creditor incentives, both against the DIP and in insolvency, that help fill the gaps left by reliance upon fiduciary duty law alone.
Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer
This chapter provides an overview of the fiduciary principles that apply to charities and other nonprofit organizations. More specifically, it discusses the criteria that trigger a fiduciary relationship, the duties of loyalty and care, other legal obligations that may apply to nonprofit fiduciaries, and the extent to which those duties and obligations may be modified or avoided. In the course of doing so, it draws upon applicable state law, applicable federal tax provisions, and various model and uniform acts. It also discusses and critiques the approaches taken to these principles by the draft Restatement of the Law, Charitable Nonprofit Organizations.
Arthur B. Laby
This chapter examines the fiduciary principles governing investment advice. Fiduciary principles in investment advice are both straightforward and complex. They are straightforward because most investment advisers are considered fiduciaries and subject to strict fiduciary duties under federal and state law. Their complex nature arises from the fact that many individuals and firms provide investment advice but are not deemed investment advisers and, therefore, are not subject to a fiduciary obligation. This chapter first explains whether and when an advisory relationship gives rise to fiduciary duties by focusing on both federal and state law, as well as the individuals and firms that typically provide investment advice. In particular, it looks at certain persons and entities excluded from the definition of investment adviser and thus not subject to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, namely broker-dealers, banks, and family offices as well as accountants, lawyers, teachers, and engineers. The chapter also considers fiduciaries under ERISA, the Investment Company Act, and the Commodity Exchange Act before discussing the fiduciary duty of loyalty and how it is expressed and applied in investment advisory relationships; the fiduciary duty of care and how it differs from other standards of conduct, such as a duty of suitability; and other legal obligations imposed on investment advisers and how those obligations relate to an adviser’s fiduciary duty. Finally, the mandatory or default terms with regard to an investment adviser’s fiduciary duties are explored, along with remedies available for breach of fiduciary duty.
Dana M. Muir
This chapter examines the underlying fiduciary principles of pension law, focusing on two forms of pension plans: defined contribution (DC) plan and defined benefit (DB) plan. It first considers the ERISA principles and how they differ from public-sector pension law, along with the extent to which the courts have applied general principles of trust law when interpreting and filling gaps in ERISA. It then discusses the fiduciary triggers of pension law, laying emphasis on the definition of fiduciary in pension law and the ways in which that definition is circumscribed. It also tackles the fiduciary status that arises when investment advice is given in the case of DC plans, co-fiduciary liability that exists under ERISA, how ERISA circumscribes the extent to which fiduciaries owe duties, and the “two hat” problem that arises when the plan sponsors act as fiduciaries. The chapter proceeds by analyzing the fiduciary duties of loyalty, care, and diversification as applied in the pension plan context; breach of fiduciary duty associated with the selection of investment options and service providers; employer stock as an investment option in DC plans; and economically targeted investments. Finally, it explains ERISA’s periodic and episodic disclosure obligations that intersect with fiduciary duties, along with other legal obligations, mandatory and default rules governing a pension plan fiduciary’s obligations, and remedies under ERISA available to pension plan participants in cases of breach of fiduciary duty.