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DOL Fiduciary News: June 1, 2017

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With start date approaching, fiduciary rule still expected to see revision

SNL.com; Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2:45 PM ET

Just days before being implemented, the Labor Department's Conflict of Interest Rule is still in the crosshairs of industry leaders, regulators and legislators.

The first phase of the rule is set to go into effect June 9, after nearly two years of heated debate over the stricter fiduciary standard it applies to financial and retirement advisers. Many in the industry expected the rule's implementation to get pushed beyond the already-delayed start date, but Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta claimed there was no legal justification to postpone the rule further in a May 22 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

Despite solidifying the rule's start date, the Labor Department is still reviewing it through further public input and a possible partnership with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Acosta wrote. Industry observers believe the rule may not last through the year's end in its current form.
(http://www.snl.com)

Advisers question Chamber report about harm from DOL rule

InvestmentNews; May 31, 2017 @ 2:45 pm

Some financial advisers are questioning the accuracy of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report that asserts that the Labor Department fiduciary rule will harm small investors and businesses.

On Tuesday, the Chamber released a report that compiles statistics from surveys and other data submitted during a recent comment period on the rule. The Chamber highlighted findings that show that 7 million individual retirement account holders could be jettisoned by their advisers because their accounts are too small and that service fees could rise by 200%.

Those outcomes don't ring true to Aaron Pottichen, president of CLS Partners Retirement Services.

"I don't think it's rooted in reality," Mr. Pottichen said. "It runs counter to every other trend we see in the industry. Fees are coming down in 401(k) plans. Fees for individual investors are coming down. This report is more about businesses protecting their bottom lines than making sure people have access to the right advice."
(http://www.investmentnews.com)

Destination Unknown: The 2017 Broker-Dealer Presidents Poll

From the June 2017 issue of Investment Advisor

Even with the tremendous level of complexity and ambiguity tied to the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule, broker-dealer leaders remain cautiously upbeat about the business model and its future. Our yearly survey of independent broker-dealer presidents shows the industry is at a crossroads. Regardless of what happens ultimately with the DOL's delayed fiduciary rule, most BDs are moving to comply with it. As one executive said, “Even if it never gets implemented, it has changed the industry forever.”

(Click here – http://media.thinkadvisor.com/thinkadvisor/article/2017/05/25/ia-0617-bdrefguide-full.pdf – to see the full 2017 Reference Guide, which ranks the top broker-dealers by revenue, reps, production and other metrics, as reported by the firms themselves.)

All 45 broker-dealer presidents completing the seventh annual poll said the IBD model will remain viable, up from about 98% a year ago.
(http://www.thinkadvisor.com)

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