It appears that the largest employee advisor and independent advisor firms are taking a bit of a “wait and see” attitude toward news that President Donald Trump is asking for a review of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which was set to go into effect April 10.
Beyond that, several of them appear to welcome the slowdown and possible revisions to the retirement advice regulation, though they aren’t overly exuberant about Trump’s move in their public statements.
Here’s what the major broker-dealers are saying about the news:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
The Thundering Herd may slow down but not fundamentally alter its DOL-related moves.
“Depending on what is announced, we may need to adjust the timelines for certain operational changes we have announced to ensure an orderly transition and a good client experience,” said Andy Sieg, head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, in a statement.
BofA Merrill announced earlier this year that it would stop offering commission-based retirement accounts. “This is consistent with our overall strategic direction and what our clients are asking for,” Sieg explained.
It also said recently that it would more clearly disclose fees paid by clients of its 14,600-plus financial advisors on account statements.
For instance, it will separately list fees for asset management services and products such as mutual funds, alternative investments and commodities, according to a Bloomberg news report.
“We will continue to move forward with many of the initiatives we have underway, reflecting our ongoing commitment to raising the standard of care we provide our retirement and nonretirement clients,” the firm said in a statement.
Morgan Stanley, which has over 15,700 registered reps, plans for its retirement account clients to have a choice of working with commissions or fees in the future; it also intends to lower some charges for trades.
“With or without the rule, we fundamentally believe that serving our clients well and continuing to lead the industry forward require that we provide an increasingly higher standard of care for our clients across both retirement and nonretirement assets. To that end, and regardless of any potential delay, we will continue to move ahead in three important areas in the coming months,” explained Shelley O’Connor and Andy Saperstein, co-heads of the wealth management unit in memo on Jan. 26.
Wells Fargo Advisors