soft commissions

The Handbook states that: Conflicts arise when an investment manager uses client brokerage to purchase research services that benefit the investment manager, a practice commonly called “soft dollars” or “soft commissions.” Presumably, the investment manager uses the research services to make better investment decisions, which can potentially benefit the client. In that case is there still a conflict?

My understanding is that no, its not a conflict IF they are used to help the client. Eg: I channel US equity trades through a broker who provides me with stellar research on north american companies. However, if I channel my equity-only client’s trades through a broker because they give me phenomenal fixed income research, I’m acting in my best interests, not in those of the clients; this is a violation. This is obviously just one example. Correct me if i’m wrong.