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DOL Fiduciary News: October 11, 2017

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DOL Rule Should Stay Strong, CFP Board Says

Financial Advisor; October 10, 2017

Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards Inc. does not want to end up with a watered down Department of Labor fiduciary rule, says Blaine Aikin, chair of CFP Board.

Despite the Trump Administration’s lukewarm attitude toward the rule and the postponement of implementation of part of it until July 2019, CFP Board maintains its strong support and says it will continue providing input to the Department of Labor.

At the same time, the board wants to work with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the fiduciary rule the agency has said it will be working on.

“We have gotten indications the SEC might be leaning toward a rule that requires suitability [of products for clients] and disclosure [of fees],” rather than the stricter rule adopted by the DOL that requires advisors and broker-dealers who handle retirement accounts to act in the best interest of their clients, says Kevin Keller, CFP Board CEO.

Insurers Get Creative with Products in Delayed Fiduciary World

InsuranceNewsNet; October 10, 2017

Retirement product development against the backdrop of a delayed Department of Labor fiduciary rule is leading to a more mature view of the regulation, an insurance industry expert said Monday.

The upshot of the product activity indicates a more nuanced approach to the DOL landscape compared to the spring 2016. At that time, insurers and distributors were gearing up to meet an April 2017 deadline and Democrats were expected to retain control of the White House.

But then Donald J. Trump won the White House and delayed the rule from April to June, followed by further delay of key aspects of the rule until July 1, 2019. The added time is giving the industry more time to think through the product adaptations.

Companies have “time to think through things rather than reacting quickly,” said Scott Hawkins, director, insurance research, with Conning, a Hartford-based insurance researcher and asset manager.

New annuities sparked by fiduciary rule 'disruption'

Financial Advisor; October 10 2017, 10:02am EDT

The fiduciary rule has helped drive a slump in annuity sales, but products emerging in its wake could reverse the downward trend, experts say.

The space has seen big changes. In the third quarter, sales dropped to their lowest level since 2001, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. Fixed sales outpaced those of variable annuities for the sixth straight quarter — the longest streak in 25 years, the industry research organization says.

The new products include structured variable annuities with fixed annuity-like protection of principal, as well as growth in fee-based and fixed index products, according to experts from LIMRA and IRI. The demand for retirement products remains constant, fueled by baby boomers, they say.

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