DOL Fiduciary News: February 22, 2018
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Maryland jumps into fiduciary fray with legislation requiring brokers to act in best interests of clients
InvestmentNews; Feb 21, 2018 @ 5:37 pm
Brokers in Maryland would have to act in the best interests of their clients under a Senate bill making its way through the state legislature.
Maryland investment advisers currently must meet such a fiduciary requirement. The provision that extends fiduciary duty to brokers is part of a larger bill, the Financial Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (https://legiscan.com/MD/sponsors/SB1068/2018), that will be the focus of a Feb. 22 hearing of the Maryland Senate Finance Committee.
The legislation, which implements the recommendations of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission, also includes provisions related to consumer borrowing and student loans.
The bill's primary sponsor, Sen. James Rosapepe, D-College Park, said that it is designed to preserve financial reforms that were put in place following the financial crisis of 2008-09.
He cited the Labor Department's fiduciary rule as one that is now being threatened. That regulation was partially implemented last June, but the remaining provisions are being reassessed in a review mandated by President Donald J. Trump that could result in major changes.
DOL fiduciary rule continues to take toll on annuity sales
InvestmentNews; Feb 21, 2018 @ 2:30 pm
The Department of Labor fiduciary rule and the interest-rate environment delivered a one-two punch to annuity sales last year, pushing them down for the third consecutive year.
Compared with the previous year, overall annuity sales dipped 8% in 2017, to $203.5 billion, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, which tracks insurance data. All major product lines were in the red.
"One of the biggest impacts we saw was from the regulatory side of the business, particularly with the DOL fiduciary rule," said Todd Giesing, director of annuity research at Limra.
…The fiduciary rule, major parts of which have been delayed until July 2019 and may be changed by the Trump administration pending a review, led to uncertainty among insurers and distributors such as broker-dealers, which contributed to a disruption in annuity sales, Mr. Giesing said.
Annuity sales into IRAs were down 13% in 2017, whereas those in non-qualified taxable accounts — which weren't directly affected by the fiduciary rule — were down only 1%.
Variable and indexed annuities were the hardest hit among annuity types, with annual IRA sales down 16% and 9%, respectively, said Mr. Giesing.