Wealth Management

(New York)

It is no secret, but new data is out showing just how much advisors don’t like the SEC’s new best interest rule. While there has been strong pushback about aspects of the rule, including its governance of the use of titles, there hadn’t been concrete data about how advisors felt about it. Well, now there is. A new survey from Fidelity shows that two-thirds of advisors say that the rule will either have a negative impact or won’t help. Only one third think it will have a positive impact. Interestingly, only 73% were actually aware of the SEC proposals in the first place.

FINSUM: The SEC rule is confusing and not well conceived. And when you combine with the updated DOL rule that is coming out in 2019, the new regulations could turn into a real headache.

(New York)

Financial advisors appear to not give a hoot about the forthcoming SEC Best Interest rule. Fatigue from the endless on-again-off-again DOL saga seems to have taken hold of the industry. A new survey by Fidelity found that 40% of advisors says that even though they are aware of the proposals, they are currently taking no action. A further 78% of advisors say they will need help in assessing and evaluating the proposals.

FINSUM: While there is definitely some fatigue, the reality is that most advisors did a lot of preparation for the fiduciary rule, and thus they think they are in a good position for the forthcoming SEC rule.


Just when it finally felt like it was gone, the fiduciary rule appears to be back from the dead. Not only is the DOL working on a new version to be debuted in 2019, but it is reportedly enforcing the current version intensely. According to ThinkAdvisor, “attorneys with Drinker, Biddle and Reath report that both the Labor Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are leveraging enforcement initiatives at a historic level of tenacity”. Fred Reish, top industry lawyer concurred, saying “Now that the fiduciary rule has been terminated, I think the focus at DOL is more on enforcement”. In terms of how the DOL is opening up investigations, a partner at Drinker, Biddle & Reath says that “They start with ‘hello, we are the DOL, show us how you do ERISA,’ and from there take a very broad based approach”.

FINSUM: We are confused by what is going on at the DOL. Following Trump’s appointment of the new chief at the DOL there seemed to be a hands-off approach being adopted (e.g. not pushing the rule further in court). Now everything seems to have reversed. Stay tuned.

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