Displaying items by tag: rollovers
The SEC is planning to beef up its Reg BI enforcement for the rest of the year. The SEC put out a recent bulletin focused on Reg BI compliance and the role that brokers and advisors play in the process. The tone was about how brokers and advisors need to take more responsibility into their own hands regarding compliance. Additionally, more focus and guidance on rollover recommendations is in the pipe, said the SEC. More bulletins on the topic are expected soon.
FINSUM: Rollovers are obviously a major topic for advisors, so this will be closely watched and scrutinized by the wealth management community.
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 Department of Labor has just clarified one of the major uncertainties surrounding the current iteration of the fiduciary rule, and the news is not good for advisors. The DOL now clearly states that any invest recommendations that would occur post rollover are directly akin to recommending the rollover itself. NAPA Net summarized the changed, which was clarified by Tim Hauser at the DOL (Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Office Operations at the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration) this way: “Suggesting investments that could occur after a rollover is tantamount to recommending a rollover, and if it meets the rest of the five-part test will constitute fiduciary advice, regardless of how it’s phrased. It doesn’t require the ‘magic words’”.
FINSUM: This is a response to some clever drafting that firms were trying to use to get around the “rollovers are fiduciary advice” mandate. Very important development.
Rollovers are obviously critical to almost all advisors, yet many don’t have seem to have gotten the memo: rollovers are changing significantly. The big change stems from the fact that Biden just let the new Trump era fiduciary rule go into effect, which was unexpected. According to the new rule, rollovers count as fiduciary advice. This is counterintuitive for many, as one leading industry lawyer, Brad Campbell from Faegre Drinker, commented “People have made the argument that rollovers cannot be fiduciary advice because it’s a one-time recommendation”. Here is the full analysis: “If you and the participant that you’re recommending rollover to, even though you advised them to do the rollover now, when you entered into that arrangement to give that advice, did both of you intend that you would meet again in the future to give more advice? To actually manage the assets or advise about managing the assets in the IRA? … If the answer is yes, we both intend to meet in the future, then DOL views it as an anticipated ongoing relationship. In other words, the beginning of an advice relationship that is fiduciary from the initial advice”.
FINSUM: This is pretty clear once you understand the logic, but on the surface it is a little hard to discern. Because no one expected this rule to actually go into effect since the election, many seem to be unprepared.
Rollovers are one of the key areas of focus for advisors within the new SEC Best Interest rule (“Reg BI”). This is not just because of their importance for advisors generally, but because there was still a good degree of uncertainty over how the new rule would be applied to the area. Recent edits to the rule clarify its application, and the results are likely to seem a little unfavorable, as they are more strict than previously. In the past, rollovers were only subject to Rule 2111 if securities were to be bought or sold in the plan. This left a bit of wiggle room. However, the new Reg BI has been modified and Rule 2111 now applies to any situation, regardless of whether securities are involved. Thus, rollover recommendations by broker-dealers are now completely governed by the best interest standard in all scenarios.
FINSUM: Not unexpected, but many were hoping for more flexibility. At least there is now confirmation.