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DOL Fiduciary News: October 17, 2017

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Charles Schwab runs TV ads to promote independent, fiduciary advice model

InvestmentNews; Oct 16, 2017 @ 2:47 pm

Schwab Advisor Services on Monday launched national television advertisements meant to promote the benefits of an independent financial adviser to would-be high-net-worth investor clients.

The ads, part of a broader "Independent Difference" marketing campaign that launched last year, began airing today on CNBC and Fox Business Network, and will run through mid-December. They feature independent advisers across the U.S. who custody with Schwab, and tout the pros of independent, fiduciary advice.

In one, for example, "Rachel R.," an independent adviser since 2004, says: "We are fiduciaries, stewards of our clients' money, entrusted to do what's right."

"I left a traditional brokerage firm because I wanted to be free of their constraints. At my firm, I act in the best interests of my clients," Tony C., independent since 2015, says in another. 

Guardian's Top Annuity Sales Executive Says the Excitement Is Back

ThinkAdvisor; October 16, 2017

A player in the U.S. annuity distribution market says the individual annuity market really does look better now than it did just a few months ago.

Jim Lake, a vice president at the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, heads the Guardian's life, disability insurance and retirement products sales operation. He took the heat as low interest rates and uncertainty about regulations pounded sales starting in mid-2016.

New survey reports from LIMRA, the Insured Retirement Institute and Look to Wink show that year-over-year decreases in annuity sales began to slow this past spring. Second-quarter results looked about the same as first-quarter results, and, in some cases, were a bit higher.

Lake said in a telephone interview last week that he believes the market survey reports give an accurate picture of the annuity market.

Commonwealth CEO Upbeat on DOL Fiduciary, ‘RIA-zation’

ThinkAdvisor; October 16, 2017

Commonwealth CEO Wayne Bloom reviewed some of the year’s “highlights,” including a letter he received about fiduciary issues in January from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “Your feedback has been incredible. Our advisors genuinely care about the firm,” he said.

“This interactive manner is how we run the firm, and it is key to helping us get through [Department of Labor] regulations. Where are we? The new fiduciary rule is unofficially delayed through July 2019, while the industry is adhering to its impartial conduct standards, as we have for decades.”

Bloom says Commonwealth “expects the DOL and SEC to vastly improve what has been proposed,” he says, noting that the DOL’s main regulations were “well-intentioned but not well-executed.”

The executive also says he is “optimistic” that the provision for class-action litigation will be eliminated and that the best-interest contract exemption (or BICE) will be used for commission-based retirement business.

DOL asks for stay in ‘unnecessary’ fiduciary rule challenge

Pensions & Investments; October 16, 2017 3:16 PM

The Department of Labor argued in one of five legal challenges to the fiduciary rule that proceedings be stayed while officials work on revising the rule administratively.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans challenged the fiduciary rule Sept. 29 and asked the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis for preliminary relief from a ban on having investors waive their right to bring class-action lawsuits. Government lawyers in an Oct. 13 brief said that request "is unnecessary and therefore inappropriate here."

The lawyers argued instead for a stay "because it would conserve judicial resources to await completion of the department's pending administrative actions, which are likely to address the challenged provision before it becomes applicable." 

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