Fixing Systemic Conflicts of Interest In Broker Adviser Models

conflictofinterestThe proposal attempts to address what DOL and the White House claim are systemic conflicts of interest in broker advisor models………….The proposed rule clearly favors fee-based compensation models for advisors…………….

Although the proposal targets pension and investment advisers per se, the same standards may be applied to fee based insurance consultants – Molly Mulebriar

DOL fiduciary rule said ready for release April 6

Senator Warren calls for SEC investigation of several rule opponents


The Department of Labor will release its finalized fiduciary rule on Wednesday, April 6, according to reporting in the Wall Street Journal.

The Labor Secretary is expected to make the announcement at 11:30 EST, at an event held at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that advocates for progressive policy issues.

The event will come almost a full year after the proposed rule was released to the public.

The proposal attempts to address what DOL and the White House claim are systemic conflicts of interest in broker advisor models. The White House’s Council of Economic Advisors estimates that investors lose $17 billion a year to conflicted advice under existing regulations.

Billy Lanter, fiduciary investment advisor at Unified Trust Company, says he’s worried of a ‘watered down’ standard.

The proposed rule clearly favors fee-based compensation models for advisors to retirement plans and IRAs. The proposed Best Interest Contract Exemption would insist extensive new disclosure requirements on advisors hoping to earn commissions. Opponents of the proposal say that could make advisory services too costly to deliver for low-income Americans and low-balance retirement accounts.

The Journal reported that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, is expected to attend next week’s event with Sec. Perez.

Recently, Warren, an inveterate supporter of DOL’s proposal, has been critical of annuity providers for exaggerating the negative impact of the proposal on investors hoping to annuitize retirement savings.

Now, Warren is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to formally investigate whether Prudential Financial, Transamerica, Jackson National Life Insurance Co., and Lincoln National misled investors in publicly voicing concerns over DOL’s proposal.

In a letter sent to SEC Chair Mary Jo White dated March 31, Warren noted several instances of implied double-speak by company executives.

In a comment letter to DOL, Dennis Glass, CEO of Lincoln National, said the proposed rule “would be so burdensome and unworkable that financial advisors and firms will not be able to use it.”

Before that, Glass communicated to investors in an analyst call that he “didn’t see the proposed rule as a significant hurdle for continuing to grow” the firm’s business, according to one example in Warren’s letter to White.

The letter notes that U.S. securities law requires public company executives to provide complete and accurate statements that may impact a company’s value.

“Both sets of industry claims — that the proposed rule will harm them and their business model, and that the proposed rule will not harm them and their business model — cannot possibly be true,” wrote Warren in calling for an investigation.

“And if one of these public statements is materially false, it would appear to violate long-standing interpretations of our securities laws,” added Warren.