Wealth Management

(Washington)

It has been long in the works. So long, in fact, that many seem to have forgotten about it. Yet here it is—a new fiduciary rule from the DOL, almost three years after the last one was vacated. The new version of the rule has just been delivered to the White House for review by the Office of Management and Budget. This starts a multi-month process that may lead to its implementation, but given how late the rule is arriving it may not get enacted before Trump could potentially leave office. If Trump wins the election, the timing is irrelevant, but if he loses and the rule has been in place less than 60 days when the new president takes over, it can very easily be reversed.


FINSUM: We have not yet seen a good summary of the contents of this rule, but will be covering it as soon as possible. The only thing we have heard is that the new rule is “is primarily a prohibited transaction exemption intended to replace the Best Interest Contract Exemption”.

(Washington)

A whole squad of industry players are trying to stop the SEC’s new Reg BI in its tracks. From individual firms (like Michael Kitces’) to trade groups, many are filing lawsuits to stop the implementation of Reg BI. One of the critical arguments seems to be that the new Reg BI does not sufficiently protect investors under the rules of the Dodd-Frank Act. One principal at XY Planning Network says, simply, “Reg BI makes it more difficult for customers to differentiate between financial planners who are bound by fiduciary obligations and for broker-dealers who may consider their own financial interests”.


FINSUM: Both broker-dealers and RIAs are against this rule. For the former, it complicates life, and for the latter, it muddles some of their “fiduciary” thunder. Nonetheless, it seems the rule is likely to implemented on schedule.

(New York)

If you survey advisors—which many have done—they will tell you that the hardest part of the forthcoming Reg BI rule from the SEC is how to handle all the requirements of the new Customer Relationship Summary form (Form CRS). With that in mind, Pershing has just launched an interesting new end-to-end Form CRS product that helps advisors comply with the rule, as well as a Tracking and Reporting Solution. According to Pershing, “We recognize that account opening is not the only [thing used], so we’ve rolled out a new forms management system where the CRS can be directed and stored digitally, and married that system with a number of trigger points that require the delivery of a Form CRS … We’ve given our clients the opportunity to both deliver forms in paper where it’s still necessary, or digitally to the extent that the investor has opted into electronic delivery”.


FINSUM: Compliance with Form CRS is a challenge, and one that is being exacerbated by COVID and people working from home. This sounds like a great solution.

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