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Advisors Mixed on Trump’s DOL Rule Review

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President Donald Trump’s executive order calling for an extensive review of the DOL fiduciary review due to take effect April 10 was greeted with mixed reviews by advisors attending TD Ameritrade’s National LINC conference.

Peter Thoms, founder and portfolio manager of Orion Capital Management, an RIA in Coronado, California, said the order has the effect of preserving the market advantage that advisors who are fiduciaries like himself already have.

“On balance, it’s probably good for us,” said Thoms. “It preserves our differentiation […], but it’s not good for most people. They would be better served if the rule passed.” 

Robert Rall, a fee-only planner who heads Rall Capital Management in Cocoa, Florida, agreed that delay or a possible eventual repeal of the rule is bad for consumers but a “boom to fee-only advisors” like himself who get to keep the marketing advantage of offering a service that serves the best interest of its clients. 

David Rice, a dual-licensed (investment advisor and broker), however, greeted the initial news of the DOL fiduciary rule delay gladly, because he opposes the rule. “When you’re not in the industry or business, you understand things differently. People didn’t realize how much more expansive the rule was.”

For example, said Rice, the rule requires advisors to document reasons why a client should rollover a 401(k) plan into an IRA and file a BICE (best interest contract exemption). “The DOL assumes cost is everything,” said Rice, noting that is not always the case.

The delay of the DOL rule means that fee-based financial advisors won’t need to file a BICE when advising an IRA rollover beginning April 10 when the rule was originally scheduled to take effect.

As a result, Eric Hatfield, from RIA Hatfield Insurance and Financial Services in Sherman Oaks, California, said his firm now will not adapt the paperwork that its outside law firm had drafted to be used when the DOL rule takes effect but will continue to work on behalf of the best interests of its clients as always .

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