What to Watch for on the Fiduciary Channel in 2018

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In the Friday (12/29/2017) issue of the WSJ, industry observer Lisa Beilfuss makes some well-supported predictions about the near term effects of the delayed fiduciary rule. While her discussion deals with more than just retirement plans, she rightfully observes that:

The fiduciary cat is already out of the conflict-of-interest bag. She notes that many Wall Street firms have made changes to how they do retirement business to more easily comply with the new rule. Furthermore, she observes that many brokers have made the move from Wall Street firms to fee-based RIA shops in order to do right by retirement clients, namely offering un-conflicted vendor searches (many larger Broker/Dealers limit the retirement vendors they’ll do business with), promote unabbreviated open fund architecture and charge hard dollar fees as opposed to asset-based pricing. To those advisors we say: “Bravo!”

Many states have signed bills or have introduced legislation to amplify or expand the fiduciary requirements for brokers. Advisors would be well- served to monitor state level reaction to the fiduciary rule delay. Again, NWPS applauds the state effort.

Preston Rutledge, the new assistant secretary of labor for the EBSA, an influential position recently vacated by fiduciary rule pit bull Phyllis Borzi, would like to see more cooperation between the DOL and other agencies, especially the SEC and the Treasury Department, when it comes to the fiduciary rule. This is not especially welcome news for proponents of the fiduciary rule news, as anything from the SEC would be more complex and far reaching, and would likely delay the rule even longer.

Ms. Beilfuss’s article is replete with links to supporting stories and interviews. Most importantly she separates the wheat from the chaff and provides a well curated look at an important topic in the upcoming year.