The American Retirement Association announced Tuesday that it has partnered with Morningstar to develop a fiduciary education and best practices program for advisors.

The IRA Fiduciary Adviser education, to be available in the fourth quarter, will prepare advisors for a “continuously shifting regulatory environment,” most notably complying with the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule, says Brian Graff, ARA’s CEO.

“A quarter million advisors are subject to a fiduciary standard,” Graff told ThinkAdvisor Tuesday. “DOL says you have to be a fiduciary, but they don’t say what that means,” so the program, currently in the “design process,” will go beyond just DOL requirements and provide “comprehensive training” on what a fiduciary needs to know.

The ARA’s IRA Fiduciary Adviser education modules will be integrated with Morningstar Advisor Workstation.

Graff said that ARA and Morningstar plan to announce soon the “prominent experts in the fiduciary field” that will help to develop the curriculum.

The IRA Fiduciary Adviser education program will provide “sophisticated tracking and reporting mechanisms to support broker-dealer and registered investment advisor compliance requirements,” Morningstar and ARA said.

“Advisors who work with retirement accounts, particularly IRAs, will need to conform with a higher, and for some dramatically higher, standard of care, but that’s only the beginning,” Graff said. “More than education, this program sets a new standard for fiduciary practices that goes beyond the mere letter of the law, elevating advisory practices to an entirely new level of excellence.”

Jeff Schwantz, head of advisor and wealth management solutions at Morningstar North America, added that the enterprise solutions for broker-dealers and advisory firms Morningstar developed to address the “open questions” created by the DOL fiduciary rule will be extended to advisors via the ARA partnership.  

— Check out DOL Clarifies Fiduciary Rule for Insurance Companies on ThinkAdvisor.