Displaying items by tag: biden
Rollovers are about to see a huge change. Advisors have largely been sleeping on the effects of the new fiduciary rule, largely because the current one was drafted under Trump and is thus milder. However, what many don’t realize is that come December, rollovers are going to be a lot more complicated. According to Fred Reish, leading industry attorney, the new rule “has turned the rollover world on its head”. Speaking further and addressing compliance, he added “A whole series of steps have to be taken to adjust to this standard”.
FINSUM: Okay so here is the reality. Full implementation begins in December, but the DOL may grant a last-minute stay because it is working on a full new fiduciary rule draft (Biden’s version). In either event, the new rule will certainly not be lighter than this version.
Advisors and their clients have spent much of this year worrying about Biden’s tax plans. Two of Biden’s budgetary priorities to raise tax revenue fall squarely on the wealthy: nearly doubling capital gains taxes and the elimination of the step-up in basis in inheritance. Well, speaking on condition of anonymity, according to Bloomberg, Washington insiders are saying the elimination of step-up in basis (often panned as a “death tax” by critics) seems be heavily watered down, or maybe dead altogether. The proposal received heavy opposition and Democrats may have already backed away from its inclusion in the budget plan, or may go with a heavily diluted proposal.
FINSUM: So there is also a big knock-on effect here as well—it means the Democrats likely won’t hike the capital gains taxes to 28% or more on the wealthy, as hiking it much without having eliminated the step-up in basis will likely end up costing the government money.
Since May, the prospect of huge tax hikes on the wealthy has weighed over the advisor and HNW landscapes. Biden is planning to significantly increase capital gains taxes, and most alarmingly, is planning to get rid of the step-up in basis at death. With that in mind, a new product has been surging to the forefront as the work-around to Biden’s new proposals: private placement life insurance. PPLI is a type of life insurance where payouts flow through to beneficiaries tax-free. However, they are complex for clients to understand and take some significant diligence. According to a law professor at the University of Chicago, “Private placement life insurance poses a serious obstacle to President Biden’s goal of guaranteeing that high-income individuals pay tax on large gains at least once per lifetime … PPLI is a massive loophole — entirely legal, easy to exploit, and politically very hard to close”.
FINSUM: So this seems to be a good, if complicated and restrictive, work-around to the inheritance tax issue, but it does not address capital gains.
Annuities have had a very strong 18 months or so. Ever since the pandemic began, demand has risen. Additionally, the pending inclusion of annuities in 401(k) plans will be a tailwind. However, a new regulation was just put in place in Connecticut which could spell trouble for the asset class. The state just put annuities under a best interest rule, the 16th state to do so. States have continued to use the National Association for Insurance Commissioners’ model rule as a template for covering annuities under BI legislation.
FINSUM: How far might this go? We think not too much further, if only because many of the states that would want to pass a fiduciary rule for annuities have already done so, which means that even if the DOL drags its feet on its new rule, most of the state-level regulations would have already happened.
Bank of America just put out a big warning that advisors need to pay attention to. The bank is warning that earnings growth could get “vaporized” across a couple of sectors. The reason why is tax hikes. BofA's Savita Subramanian posits that in a scenario where taxes rise to 25% next year (from 21% this year), 5% would be wiped off earnings growth, a huge margin in a year that is already set up to see some cooling after the red hot earnings growth of 2021.
FINSUM: Investors don’t seem to be adequately accounting for this risk. Despite the fact that Biden’s proposals will likely get watered down, there appears a high likelihood that taxes will rise next year.