Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is likely to post the proposed delay to the Fiduciary and Conflicts of Interest Rule on the Federal Register. You can read the full 31-page document at www.federalregister.gov. The delay pushes the applicability date to June 9, 2017, which amounts to a 60-day delay to the rule. This is significantly less than what many industry professionals hoped for after President Trump’s memorandum on Feb. 3, 2017.
As the Fiduciary Rule continues to evolve, I want to stress that many aspects of the rule have already been implemented by the marketplace. Firms have created policies and procedures to mitigate the conflicts in their business and supervise best interest standards for clients. Advisors have begun to change their business models to adhere to the new rules. All of these movements are positives for our industry. And, we look forward to continuing to deliver products, services, strategies and solutions to our advisors in a neutral, conflict-free environment.
Looking into an unclear crystal ball, our industry must accept that the rule – in some form – seems to be inevitable. How the rule is supervised and executed will ultimately change the distribution of retirement products forever. I want to encourage all members of the financial services community to stay engaged with their senators and representatives in shaping the DOL rule. Ultimately, I believe a legislative fiduciary standard is the best outcome to unify the standard across all distribution channels and geographic markets. The standard must work with NAIC regulations that govern fixed and indexed annuities, while outlining a centralized regulator to hold all professionals accountable.
Ash Brokerage continues to prepare for the Fiduciary and Conflicts of Interest Rule. As we inch closer to a resolution, we will work with our independent agents to make sure they have an avenue with the least amount of disruption to their business. For our registered representatives and RIAs, we are prepared to support and assist you in the transition to a new environment. Our tools, research and expertise working in an agnostic sales organization provide the necessary support for success in the future. We look forward to partnering with firms and advisors looking to prepare and thrive in the new world of delivering retirement products and services to so many Americans who need our advice.
Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of annuities at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”
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