Wealth Management

(New York)

The ETF industry has been undermining the mutual fund business for years, but it is now set to undergo a transformation itself. In particular, as many as half of the 2,000+ ETFs currently listed are likely to close in the next few years as they die off from a lack of assets. Most ETFs need to reach somewhere between $50m and $100m to break even, but currently more than half of the 2,100 or so ETFs have less than $100m. The problem is that the market has become so inundated with new concepts—and so top heavy from broad index funds—that attracting assets is very difficult. Accordingly, many ETFs, including from large providers, are likely to close over the next couple years.


FINSUM: Big names have already started shuttering funds that were underperforming in terms of assets. Expect more of the same.

(Washington)

Yes, you read the headline correctly. The original DOL rule—the one vacated by the courts in 2018—is seeing new life breathed into it. We are not talking about the DOL Rule 2.0 effort being led by Scalia and company at the DOL, we are talking about the Obama era proposal. So who is bringing the new rule back, or at least proposing to do so—Elizabeth Warren. In a little covered policy release earlier this month, Warren vowed she would restore the Fiduciary Rule (1.0). She wanted to bring back “The Labor Department’s fiduciary rule that the Trump administration delayed and failed to defend in court, so that brokers can’t cheat workers out of their retirement savings”.


FINSUM: Add this to the long list of CFPB-oriented measures Warren wants to enact if she wins the election. On a separate note, it is very annoying how politicians so casually call all brokers cheaters when it is really a small sample of bad actors.

(Washington)

The Department of Labor has just proposed a new rule for advisors. We know what you are thinking—“oh boy, another DOL rule”. However, this new one might be quite a positive development. The new rule concerns disclosure. Specifically, it is a new proposal to allow retirement plan sponsors to make disclosures electronically. It would actually make electronic disclosure the default method. The proposal also includes additional protections for participants, including standards for the websites where disclosures are made.


FINSUM: This seems on the surface like a good idea, as it saves time, money, and hassle. Industry commentators have so far been supportive of the idea, but there has not been an in-depth review yet.

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