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Industry Spotlight > RIAs

The DOL doldrums

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As I write this from my office near Denver, there is still a good amount of snow covering the grounds outside my window. Just a couple of weeks ago, the area experienced record snowfall, with some parts of Colorado witnessing more than two feet of accumulation.

I was in Cincinnati on business when the storm hit March 23. Denver International Airport shut down for only the third time in the airport’s 11-year history. For the next 48 hours, I was stuck at the Cincinnati Airport Hilton with the publisher of this magazine. Though we found ways to enjoy our time in the area after full work days spent at the typical hotel room desks, we of course wished we were home. But it was out of our control. We were very much trapped.

This feeling of helplessness got me thinking about the upcoming Department of Labor proposed fiduciary rule. The legislation, which would raise investment advice standards for retirement accounts, was widely expected to be published by the end of March. By the time you read this, it may have already published. Or, in true legislative tradition, it may be end of summer by the time a decision is made — or later.

We are covering this topic at length both in this magazine and online at In the past several months, I have had encounters with industry professionals who are either completely up in arms about the proposed rule or on the opposite side of the fence and “not overly concerned” about the effects such a rule could have on their business.

But through many conversations with various industry executives, there are underlying commonalities: uncertainty, fear of the unknown and fear of having no control over the outcome.

Similar to being stranded in an unfamiliar city with no way home, the waiting period for the DOL fiduciary rule is harrowing, with RIAs feeling unclear and out of control. But I’m pretty sure we’d all choose a week in Cincinnati over anything that may affect our business as harshly as this legislation has the potential to.

Stay connected to for breaking news and industry analysis relating to this legislation.