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DOL Fiduciary News: February 7, 2017

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Don't Believe Everything You Read about the DOL Rule

Financial Advisor; February 6, 2017

Here in early February, the financial advice business is a little like a James Bond martini—shaken, but not stirred.

After journalists initially misinterpreted a directive from President Donald Trump calling for greater scrutiny regarding a U.S. Department of Labor rule that would apply a more stringent fiduciary standard to advice given within retirement accounts, industry watchdogs started to take the executive order in stride.

“This is not a surprise,” said Charles Goldman, president & CEO of AssetMark, a consultant to financial planners and investment managers. “We expected the administration to delay the implementation of the rule and to review it. We believe that advisors should continue to prepare for the implementation of the rule.”

DOL Rule Delay Could Come Tuesday

InsuranceNewsNet; February 6, 2017

Despite the awkward rollout of President Donald J. Trump’s policy strategy for the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, officials say the president remains committed to killing the regulation.

In fact, a 180-day delay could be announced by the DOL as soon as Tuesday, said Erin Sweeney of the Washington, DC-based law firm Miller & Chevalier. Sweeney previously served as senior benefit law specialist for the Office of Regulations and Interpretations at the U.S. Department of Labor.

“I haven't heard anything definite, but I do expect the DOL to announce a 180-day delay sometime this week,” she said via email.

White House memo confuses Wall Street on fate of fiduciary rule

Reuters; Tue Feb 7, 2017 | 7:16am EST

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK -- Conflicting signs from the White House have left brokerage firms and lobbyists unsure whether a controversial rule governing retirement advice will ever be put in place, but they are taking no chances and complying anyway.

President Donald Trump's Friday memorandum ordered the Labor Department to review the so-called "fiduciary" rule, which requires brokers to put their clients' interests first when advising them about 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts.

What the Biggest BDs Are Saying About Trump's Fiduciary Order

ThinkAdvisor; February 6, 2017

It appears that the largest employee advisor and independent advisor firms are taking a bit of a “wait and see” attitude toward news that President Donald Trump is asking for a review of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which was set to go into effect April 10.

Beyond that, several of them appear to welcome the slowdown and possible revisions to the retirement advice regulation, though they aren't overly exuberant about Trump's move in their public statements.

Robo advisers' response to Trump's fiduciary order: We can't be stopped

Financial Planning; February 06 2017, 5:28pm EST

Digital wealth management and fintech firms shrugged off President Trump's move to potentially delay and possibly reverse the fiduciary rule, arguing it was no hurdle to their own growth.

"Everyone sees the need to offer a better digital experience, so the investment in better technology will only continue," says Jon Stein, CEO of Betterment.

Labor Department will need time to deliver on Trump’s executive order; February 6, 2017

President Trump’s executive order directing the Labor Department to undertake a new economic and legal analysis of the fiduciary rule was immediately embraced by lawmakers and stakeholders opposed to the regulation.

In a statement issued after she attended President Trump’s signing of the order, Rep. Ann Wagner, R-MO, a sponsor of bills that would have blocked the Labor Department from implementing the rule, said she applauds the President’s order to “delay” the rule.

But some proponents of a fiduciary standard say language in the order offers more questions than answers as to the rule’s ultimate fate.

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