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DOL Fiduciary News: February 23, 2017

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Advocates push to delay DOL fiduciary rule delay; industry waits for likely stall

InvestmentNews; Feb 22, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

While advocates for the Labor Department fiduciary-duty rule make a last-ditch effort to put off its likely delay, financial industry groups seem to be confident that the Trump administration will stall the measure.

Since the DOL sent to the Office of Management and Budget on Feb. 9 a proposal to delay the April 10 initial implementation date of the measure, only advocates have met with OMB officials to talk about the agency's pending decision on the delay. A listing of meetings on the OMB website shows that all nine of the scheduled talks have been with groups that want to protect the DOL rule, which would require financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts.

Judge Denies Request to Halt Thrivent DOL Fiduciary Case 

ThinkAdvisor; February 22, 2017

In a quick turnaround, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson denied Wednesday the Department of Justice’s request to stay the current court case filed against the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

In its Feb. 17 request, DOJ cited the Labor Department’s review of the fiduciary rule under the recent directive by President Donald Trump, as well as Labor’s recent filing with the Office of Management and Budget to delay the rule’s April 10 compliance date.

“In light of the potential for change to the rulemaking, there is good cause to continue the March 3, 2017 summary judgment hearing and stay proceedings pending the outcome of the department’s review,” the DOJ attorneys wrote.

Winners and losers in the murky DOL fiduciary rule implementation

InvestmentNews; Feb 21, 2017 @ 4:50 pm

The rule is well past the tipping point, and the industry is forever changed regardless of the rule change.

There's plenty of speculation as to what will happen with the implementation of the Department of Labor rule that holds advisers for retirement plan participants to the fiduciary standard. Whether the rule is delayed, amended or implemented, only time will tell. In the meantime, let's discuss the new uncertainty and its impact on the wealth management industry. We should all understand that the rule is well past the tipping point and the industry is forever changed regardless of the rule change.

Do Robo-Advisors Meet Fiduciary Standards?

Financial Advisor; February 22, 2017

Robo-advisors are adding human planners in call centers to aid their clients—but they’re still falling short of existing regulations, industry officials say.

Most robo-advisors still fail to meet the requirements of the fiduciary standard and the Advisers Act of 1940, but the industry should learn to live with those shortcomings, says Scott MacKillop, CEO of Denver-based First Ascent Asset Management.

The Advisers Act states that fiduciary investment advisors owe clients a duty of loyalty, to place a client’s interests ahead of the advisor’s, and a duty of care, to act with competence and diligence that would normally be exercised by a fiduciary in similar circumstances. MacKillop says the key to fulfilling both of these duties is knowledge of client.

Whom to trust when buying an annuity?

Reuters; Wed Feb 22, 2017 | 11:51am EST

NEW YORK -- Getting financial advice on complicated insurance products is, well, complicated.

Most life insurance with investment options, long-term care insurance and annuity products come with a dizzying array of options and many pages of fine print, the merits of which are debatable for your bottom line. That makes solid, unconflicted advice necessary.

But since most of these policies are sold on commission or with other incentives in mind, that means the salespeople are not necessarily recommending options that are in your best interest. They could be thinking about earning a cruise instead.

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