More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Client Communication and Miscommunication RIA policies and procedures must specify what type of communications should be retained. The safest course of action is for RIAs to retain all communicationsto clients, from clients, and about client accounts. To comply with fiduciary obligations, communications must be thorough and not mislead.
- Conducting Due Diligence of Sub-Advisors and Third-Party Advisors Engaging in due-diligence of sub-advisors isnt just a recommended best practice it is part of the fiduciary obligation to a client. An RIA should be extremely reluctant to enter a relationship with a sub-advisor who claims the firms strategy is proprietary.
Pay close attention to three areas of the Department of Labor’s reproposed fiduciary rule once it’s released in July, says Brad Campbell, former head of the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.
First will be the new prohibited transactions exemptions, “and what they will allow,” said Campbell (left), who’s now an attorney with the Financial Services ERISA Team at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Washington, on the law firm’s Inside the Beltway conference call Tuesday.
Fred Reish, head of Financial Services ERISA team at Drinker Biddle, who was also on the call, said that “the fiduciary aspects” of the DOL’s proposal were “manageable” and agreed with Campbell that “the prohibited transactions” in the revised rule would be “where the rubber hits the road.” Going forward, he said, “the debate will be in the prohibited transaction issues.”
The next area to focus on will be how EBSA applies the rule to the IRA marketplace, which was included in the previous draft. This will “change how providers interact with [IRA] holders,” Campbell said.
The revised rule will also include new rules on the rollover solicitation process, Campbell said. “I suspect that [EBSA will say] a conversation about a rollover is a fiduciary conversation,” he said. If this is part of the revised rule, “that would present a lot of real difficulties and changes for rollovers.”
Campbell told conference call listeners that the “significance” of EBSA’s fiduciary rule “is less about the way you make a decision or the quality of the advice, but the business model behind you.”
DOL, in changing the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), has “bitten off such a huge issue that we’re going to have to spend a lot of time to get through [the reproposed rule] within the 60 to 90 comment period,” Campbell said.
So how do advisors themselves feel about a stronger fiduciary standard for all advisors, and how are they “putting clients first” absent a single standard? We invite you to participate in the third annual fiduciary survey sponsored by AdvisorOne and Fi360.—Ed.