As traditional and robo-advisers alike attempt to entice baby boomers to sign up with them to get advice on rolling over the trillions of dollars in their 401(k) plans, the Department of Labor, which regulates tax-advantaged savings accounts, has enacted a new “fiduciary rule" to protect those investors. The rule, which takes effect in January 2018, requires that advisers put their clients’ best interests above their own when managing their retirement accounts. In other words, when choosing between investments, your adviser must recommend the one that he or she feels is best for your situation, not the one that offers a higher profit or commission. When the rule takes effect, all advisers—which includes brokers, insurance agents, and yes, computer-­driven robo-advisers—will be held to that standard as well.

Many robo-advisers say they expect to benefit from the new rule. “It’s really good for us,” says Betterment CEO Jon Stein. That’s because Betterment, and other similar firms, charge you solely for advice—they don’t profit from recommending one ETF vs. another. Some robo-advisers that are offshoots of larger brokerage firms and recommend their own firms’ products, however, may need to restructure their fees or use their own products in order to comply with the rules, says adviser Michael Kitces. It’s also worth keeping in mind that because this new regulation applies only to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, advisers could skirt the rule by limiting their practice to taxable accounts, Kitces says. But buyer beware: “If any company is offering different services for taxable accounts, that should be a major red flag for any investor,” Kitces warns.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.