Wealth Management

(New York)

Goldman Sachs has been working hard to build up its advisor business. While the firm already has very strong revenue per advisor, it is trying to build up its advisor base and boost its securities lending business. However, it has a problem—many of it advisors are jumping ship. Goldman used to be a place where advisors stuck around for years, but in the last 12 months no less than five big, high quality teams have left the firm. Two have gone to other wirehouses, three became independent. Those in the industry say more are likely to leave.

FINSUM: It looks like Goldman is experiencing the same issues as everyone else.


One of the big questions in the wealth management industry right now is what is next for the fiduciary rule. The rule has just suffered its first major court defeat and looks like it is down for the count. Yet, advocates are still trying to rally for it and arcane bureaucratic procedures mean outsiders have a hard time understanding how the rule can officially go away. While the DOL does not look likely to appeal the court ruling, another defendant could theoretically step in. Additionally, some argue that since it was the 5th circuit court which delivered the ruling, that its decision only vacates the rule in its region (Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi). Some also think the DOL may drop out of working on the fiduciary rule altogether, leaving the whole thing for the SEC to manage.

FINSUM: So despite the positive ruling for those opposed to the rule, the path forward is still very uncertain. However, the likelihood of the rule ever coming into full force seems very low and the DOL says it will no longer enforce it.


There are a lot of articles saying that the DOL’s fiduciary rule is on its last legs (and we aren’t sad about it). However, the reality is that despite the ruling, the DOL’s infamous rule lives on. Even if it does not stay in its current form (which seems likely), the fiduciary focus the rule brought to the industry is going nowhere, and the coming SEC rule will likely take what the DOL did to even greater lengths (but hopefully more convincingly). As an example of how the spirit of the rules lives on, here is a comment from the CEO of the Investment Adviser’s Association, who says “Now, are you really going to send a letter to your clients saying, never mind I'm not going to act in your best interest? No. No, it's too late. So some of this is not going to change in real life”.

FINSUM: Fiduciary duty is here to stay but the “fiduciary rule” is not. We think that could be a win for all parties.

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