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New Stradley Ronon Group to Help Advisors Navigate Fiduciary Rules

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The law firm Stradley Ronon has launched a Fiduciary Governance Group staffed with former Securities and Exchange Commission officials to help advisors and broker-dealers navigate the “multiple and conflicting” sets of fiduciary standards.

“Whether it’s complying with the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, a new Securities and Exchange Commission fiduciary standard, or emerging state investment advice laws,” the new group will guide financial institutions on handling the compliance risk in a “holistic fashion and, where possible, create harmonized procedures that satisfy multiple applicable fiduciary rules and standards,” said Stradley Ronon attorneys George Michael Gerstein and Larry Stadulis, the group’s co-chairs, in a Tuesday statement.

The 15-member governance team includes David Grim, the former director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, as well as Sara Crovitz, formerly the IM division’s deputy chief counsel and associate director, as well as attorneys specializing in federal and state securities, banking, insurance and ERISA/governmental plan law.

Both Grim and Crovitz joined Stradely Ronon’s investment practice group in mid-March.

The attorneys will help advisor and BD clients determine:

  • whether one becomes a fiduciary or assumes a similar role under common law and applicable regulatory regimes;
  • how to comply with such fiduciary or similar duties under each set of laws and identify “daylight” between them; and
  • ways to leverage existing compliance procedures under one regime to comply with other applicable regimes.

Gerstein told ThinkAdvisor that if the SEC takes up regulating advisor and broker titles in its fiduciary proposal, he sees “some states hitting the brakes on the legislative and regulatory front.”

If the SEC proposal “incorporates some aspects of the [DOL rule’s] Impartial Conduct Standards (or something similar), I could also see a pullback from some of the states.”

Fiduciary commentary from the group will be available through client alerts and on the Fiduciary Governance Blog.

— Check out Fi360 Refreshes, Expands Fiduciary Training Program for Advisors on ThinkAdvisor.


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