Displaying items by tag: best interest
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.
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.
In what would come as very welcome news for financial advisors, the newest version of the fiduciary rule may have its implementation delayed. The rule was first thrown out by the fifth circuit court a few years ago, then reproposed and accepted in the early part of Biden’s term. Now it is set to go into effect in December. However, a large contingency of trade groups are putting together a formal request to have the DOL delay the full implementation of the rule to give firms more time to get into compliance.
FINSUM: This is potentially good news, but in the longer term it is likely a moot point since it is widely expected that Biden’s DOL will be redrafting an entirely new version of the rule, and probably one that is closely aligned with the original iteration from the Obama era.
The Department of Labor made a critical move this week in announcing a regulation that is likely to affect almost all advisors. During the Trump administration the DOL made a rule that made investing client Dollars in ESG funds very complicated from a compliance perspective. It has long been expected that the Biden administration would try to undue that rule and make one of its own. It appears that day is here as the DOL announced a new rule (the wording of which is still unclear) which would clear up the uncertainty and risk advisors have in recommending ESG funds.
FINSUM: This will become more clear in the coming days, but the bottom line is that it appears the Biden administration is trying to take the doubt/uncertainty/risk out of ESG for advisors. And good thing because demand for ESG products has surged this year.
If you listen to the industry chatter, it appears Gary Gensler, Biden’s head of the SEC, may be poised to define “best interest” as part of the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. If advisors recall, when the BI rule was first proposed the main criticism was that they did not define the term “best interest”. Many thought this would allow loopholes, while the SEC said it would make enforcement stronger because by defining a term, it actually creates ways around it. According to Blaine Aikin, from Broadridge, “I think there’s an appetite for the Biden administration … We’ve had certain calls from many different audiences: ‘Wouldn’t it have been better if the SEC had actually defined best interest?”. Aikin added that he believes there is “huge collaboration” going on between the SEC and DOL on the topic of Reg BI and Fiduciary Rule synergy.
FINSUM: The big question here is whether a definition of the term will somehow change enforcement in some way. It seems a toss-up as to whether the definition creates loopholes or weakens them, but for the average advisor enforcement makes all the difference.