The Department of Labor has confirmed that its Fiduciary Rule will go into effect on June 9, although affected firms need not comply with all of the BIC exemption requirements until at least January 1, 2018. In an FAQ, the DoL confirmed that financial institutions and advisers must comply with the “impartial conduct standard,” which requires a duty of prudence (professional standard of care) and loyalty (advice in the best interest of the customer). However, firms have flexibility to determine how to ensure compliance with the best interest standard and may offer proprietary products with commissions if they ensure that they meet the impartial conduct standard and the advice is in the best interest of the customer. Firms should “adopt such policies and procedures as they reasonably conclude are necessary.” The DoL plans to seek additional information to determine whether to further delay full implementation or change the Rule, which applies to IRAs, ERISA plans, and IRC 4975 plans.
OUR TAKE: Can we stop now? We actually think the current state of affairs makes the most sense i.e. require a best interest standard without specifically mandating how firms must comply. The Investment Advisers Act takes that approach, and it has worked pretty well since 1940.