Wealth Management

(Washington)

Last week Democrats published a wide-ranging agenda for the potential Biden presidency. One section of it—which received much publicity in our niche wealth management world—was about the party’s intent to get rid of the SEC’s new Reg BI. However, another part of that plan was much less covered, but no less important: the party also wants to bring back a true fiduciary rule, potentially very similar to the failed DOL rule 1.0. Interestingly, Barbara Roper, head of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, says that the approach the Democrats would likely take is not to create an entirely new rule, but edit and “reign in” conflicts in the existing rule.


FINSUM: So this is quite unsurprising, but very important. What was interesting to us is Roper’s comment about the way Democrats would likely go about this. In our view, modifying an existing rule would be much faster than crafting a new one, which means a new version might come into force a whole lot faster than expected.

(Washington)

Here is an eye-opener for you: odds are that 7 months from today the SEC’s Reg BI and the new fiduciary rule will be no more. The Democrats—who are currently leading in the polls—have published an action plan for a potential Biden presidency. Included in it was a clear plan to reverse the current version of Reg BI, all according to a section of the report entitled “Guaranteeing a Secure and Dignified Retirement”. On page 24 of the document, Democrats say “Democrats believe that when workers are saving for retirement, the financial advisors they consult should be legally obligated to put their client’s best interests first. We will take immediate action to reverse the Trump Administration’s regulations allowing financial advisors to prioritize their self-interest over their clients’ financial wellbeing”.


FINSUM: Because of how polls are trending, these kind of manifestos are becoming very relevant for advisors to consider.

(Washington)

Many feel that the current version of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule might be in jeopardy if Biden wins the election. The thinking is that he would quickly undue the current proposed legislation and replace it with something similar to the Obama era Fiduciary Rule. However, that seems unlikely since many courts have now blocked that version of the rule, clearing saying it overstepped its bounds. That means that a return to the Obama era version is unlikely unless Democrats also win the House and Senate, in which case they could introduce new legislation.


FINSUM: Based on how the old version of the ruled fared in courts, we think it is highly unlikely it returns intact. That said, a much stronger version than the current proposal seems likely if Biden wins.

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