Displaying items by tag: DoL
For the most part, regulatory risk is understood well before it becomes a reality. There is a lot of uncertainty around the final rule, but generally you can prepare long in advance. That said, Reg BI may be about to cause a big problem in publicly traded markets. In particular, there is increasing speculation that Reg BI may soon be applied to everyone’s favorite darling (or the opposite), Robinhood (HOOD). The company has been under intense scrutiny for most of this year for its monetization strategies as well as its gamification of trading.
FINSUM: And this would not just be limited to Robinhood but all online trading platforms. This could lead to some significant volatility.
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.
If there were ever a sign of things to come from the SEC, this is it. There has been a lot of speculation about how the SEC will approach enforcement of Reg BI under new chief Gary Gensler. It is widely expected that the new administration will be much tougher than under Trump. But even with that expectation, this week’s move is big. The SEC just hired the every-broker-curses-her-name longtime head of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America Barbara Roper as a senior adviser. Roper has been by far the biggest critic of Reg BI and was the biggest proponent of the Obama era DOL Rule.
FINSUM: The SEC could not have done a better job of signaling where things are heading. Time to buckle down on your compliance and start setting aside working capital to deal with beefed up protocols and more investigations.
The new version of the fiduciary rule which is in the works will have a major effect on many financial advisors, but most think of this from a regulatory and customer interaction perspective. However, the rule will likely have an effect on some products too. One that seems likely to surge is usage are model portfolios. Model portfolios grew in prominence as the Obama era rule ascended. They tend to benefit clients and firms alike since they save time and money for advisors and give a great deal of outsourced investing expertise to clients. Also, because of their fee structure, they tend to create predictable revenue streams without any way to accuse an advisor of preferring specific funds which could be construed as not being in their clients’ best interests.
FINSUM: This makes total sense. Model portfolios were in part driven by the first version of the DOL rule, so a resurgence of the spirit of that rule will likely make firms and advisors push even further into this product.
Advisors better get ready because the Trumpian era of relatively loose SEC enforcement is about to come to an abrupt end. The SEC has just appointed a new enforcement chief and his record says everything about where the Commission is heading. Gurbir Grewal, former State Attorney General for New Jersey has been appointed as the SEC’s top enforcer. Very notably, Grewal proactively proposed a uniform fiduciary standard in his home state of New Jersey, which speaks volumes about his views.
FINSUM: So the bottom line here is that this is the clearest sign yet that the SEC seems likely to rather dramatically scale up its enforcement. Many are now expecting that the SEC will define “best interest” and then employ Grewal as a strongman on enforcement.