More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Preventing and Dealing with Client Complaints Although the SEC has not provided specific guidance on how client complaints should be handled, a firms policies and procedures should provide clear direction how to do so, as neglecting complaints can exacerbate a bad situation.
- Client Commission Practices and Soft Dollars RIAs should always evaluate whether the products and services they receive from broker-dealers are appropriate. The SEC suggested that an RIAs failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisors fiduciary duty to clients, so RIAs must evaluate their soft dollar relationships on a regular basis to ensure they are disclosed properly and that they do not negatively impact the best execution of clients transactions.
To promote a higher standard of fiduciary responsibility, Thornburg Investment Management recently hosted 65 advisors and retirement plan specialists at a symposium featuring the fi360 Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) capstone course.
At its 10th Annual Fiduciary Training Symposium, held March 18 through 20 in Santa Fe, Thornburg’s Retirement Group followed up the capstone course with fi360’s AIF designation exam. As a result, the approximately 55 registered investment advisors or advisors at independent and regional broker-dealers in attendance went back to work with the knowledge of best practices and development opportunities that the designation represents.
“It’s part of our firm’s DNA,” said Rocco DiBruno (right), managing director of Thornburg and the director of its Retirement Group, when asked Tuesday in a phone interview why it was important to Thornburg that advisors be fiduciaries. “Thornbug has always believed in promoting a higher standard in fiduciary responsibility because we manage investors’ money. Integrity and honesty are important in the financial services business, whether you’re an advisor or a portfolio manager. You’re in the position of managing other people’s money.”
Since 2004, Thornburg has put about 1,200 people through the AIF course, which is especially important for fiduciaries involved with defined contribution (DC) retirement plans, DiBruno said.
Thornburg Investment Management, based in Santa Fe and founded in 1982, has $84 billion of assets under management and is the winner of four Lipper awards for 2013. The firm manages seven equity funds, many of them invested in international stocks, and nine bond funds, many of them in the municipal space. Fi360, based in Bridgeville, Pa., near Pittsburgh, is a company that describes its mission as promoting fiduciary excellence through education, technology and support solutions.
When Thornburg first introduced and hosted its Fiduciary Training Symposium in 2004, DiBruno took the capstone course and passed the AIF designation exam.
“Frankly, no one knew what to expect, but we, along with the advisors who attended, believed that the retirement market was in the early stages of a fundamental shift from what up until then had been a product-first approach,” said DiBruno in a statement. “The AIF program created a framework for a prudent decision-making process to an industry that until then didn’t have one. For the first few years, advisors really didn’t know how the training would impact their practice, but now it is pretty much accepted as a core requirement if you are committed to being a specialist in the qualified retirement plan market.”
As the fiduciary debate shows unmistakable signs of coming to the fore of the agendas of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor, AdvisorOne is asking advisors to once again have their voices heard in the media and inside the Beltway. The third annual AdvisorOne-fi360 Fiduciary Survey will close on Friday, April 5.
Read more about how you can take the AdvisorOne-fi360 Fiduciary Survey at AdvisorOne.