Massachusetts Securities Regulator William Galvin is pressing ahead with training the state’s investment advisors on how to comply with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, despite a likely delay in the rule’s April 10 compliance date.
On Tuesday, as many as 350 state-registered advisors will gather in Boston to hear Tamar Frankel, law professor at Boston University, and Michael Kitces, director of wealth management for Pinnacle Advisory Group, co-founder of the XY Planning Network and author of the Nerd’s Eye View blog, hash over compliance with the rule.
“The fiduciary rule is a vital element in the protection of our citizens who are seeking advice on the management of their retirement investments, ensuring that such advice puts the best interest of the clients first,” Galvin told ThinkAdvisor on Monday. “This training session is designed to make state-registered investment advisors familiar with the details of the rule and how it applies to them.”
Labor on March 1 released a proposed rule to extend for 60 days the applicability date of its fiduciary rule under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The proposal, which includes a 15-day comment period, would extend the rule’s April 10 compliance date to June 9.
But “even a likely delay [of the rule] is just that — it’s a delay,” Kitces told ThinkAdvisor on Monday. “It doesn’t change the need to come into compliance with the rules in the future (and at a minimum, understand how the rules work and impact you as an advisor).”
If the rule becomes “effective in June instead of April, advisors still need to be up to speed. If it gets delayed again from June until later, advisors still need to be up to speed for when it gets implemented later.”
Kitces maintains that “the odds of any kind of DOL fiduciary repeal have drastically fallen at this point. Every major firm has already absorbed all the compliance costs to redesign their systems to be compliant at this point.”
Frankel told ThinkAdvisor that during the training session, she will “describe what a fiduciary duty really is. Why it’s important. It’s based on trust. It will not be a touchy-feeling thing — it’s legal.”
She added: “I’m going to give an explanation of the law now, without the [DOL] rule, about fiduciary relationships and what they are.”