What is the difference between a broker and a registered investment advisor (RIA)?

The biggest difference is that a Registered Investment Advisor such as Family Dyansty Advisors that has a fiduciary obligation to their clients. A fiduciary must legally put the interest of their clients ahead of their own. Brokers are held to a suitability standard. A piece of metal and flint is suitable to start a fire but a lighter would be best. Brokers are under no legal obligation to put your interests ahead of theirs. This is why brokers often recommend high commission products. Always ask a financial advisor if he/she has a fiduciary obligation.