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DOL Fiduciary News: March 27, 2017

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Industry requesting longer delay of fiduciary rule; March 24, 2017

A large faction of financial services and insurance industry stakeholders have asked the Labor Department to delay implementation of the fiduciary rule beyond the proposed 60 days.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Spark Institute, National Association for Fixed Annuities, and the Insured Retirement Institute are among the industry organizations lobbying for a 180-day delay of the rule’s April 10 implementation date. The American Retirement Association has requested the first implementation date be delayed until January 1, 2018.

In comment letters to the Labor Department, the trade groups argue that the economic and legal analysis of the rule ordered by the White House will take longer than the proposed 60-day delay. The comment period for the proposed delay closed March 17.

Morgan Stanley eliminating commissions, finder's fees in 401(k) plans

InvestmentNews; Mar 24, 2017 @ 5:37 pm

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is eliminating commission payments and finder's fees for its advisers servicing 401(k) plans, shifting entirely to a level compensation arrangement based on plan assets, according to a source with knowledge of the firm's decision.

Implementation of the policy will be complete over the next few weeks, the source said.

Morgan Stanley and other brokerage firms have been moving to level compensation structures in their 401(k) and retail-retirement platforms over the past several months due to the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, issued last spring.

Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley: A tale of two fiduciary 401(k) business models

InvestmentNews; Mar 24, 2017 @ 1:54 pm

The wealth management units at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley within the past few weeks announced substantive changes to their respective 401(k) businesses, and while each approach shares common ground they also differ in notable ways.

Where the wirehouse brokerages primarily diverge is in the level of discretion they offer their retirement plan advisers, especially in the small-plan market, industry observers say.

While Merrill Lynch is offering advisers servicing 401(k) plans a fairly high level of discretion, Morgan Stanley is substituting some adviser discretion for more risk at the firm level, said Fred Barstein, founder and CEO of The Retirement Advisor University.

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