The Obama administration spent six years developing and tweaking a fiduciary rule that would have required financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients. Then the Trump administration blocked it, delaying it by 180 days, citing alleged concerns over cost and complexity. Why is the blocking of this rule important, and what does it mean for investors? The following explains, and provides some advice on how to move forward.
An Overview of the Fiduciary Rule
Currently, financial advisors can (and often do) make recommendations to clients in which the fiduciary holds a vested interest. For example, many stock brokers, planners, insurance agents, and financial salespersons work on a commission scale. To increase their own profits, they often steer clients to investment accounts that would gain the fiduciary a profit.
The Department of Labor’s fiduciary would have required that all financial advisors work only in the best interest of their clients. So, regardless of whether they would turn an additional profit or not, they would have been required to advise clients on investments that best suited their needs. It would have also eliminated many of the commission structures within the financial industry – many of which jeopardize the financial futures of investors.
What the Delay Could Mean for Investors
Although a delay of 180 days may not seem like much, that six-month wait puts countless investors at risk. Further, the memorandum from President Trump is asking the Department of Labor to carry out an economic and legal analysis on the potential impact of the rule, particularly in relation to the cost of giving and receiving financial advice. The administration also states that the rule would have been an overreach of government power.
Lawmakers who oppose the delay say the real issue is that the rule would have taken money away from the wealthy and put it back into the pockets of investors. They also fear that the delay could ultimately result in a gutting, halt, or complete dismissal of a rule that had previously been vetted. They fear the only ones who will be hurt are American investors.
Considering this delay, it is critical that investors continue to practice due diligence when seeking a financial advisor. Further, they should prepare for the possibility that the fiduciary rule may be killed before it is even put into practice. For more information on investments and how it may impact your estate planning efforts, contact an experienced estate planning lawyer for assistance.
Contact Our Long Grove Estate Planning Lawyers
With so many issues working against investors, it is critical to ensure your estate planning is being handled by someone who has your best interest in mind. This is exactly what we offer at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC – committed and dedicated representation to suit your needs. Learn more about how we can assist with your estate planning wishes. Call 847-934-6000 and schedule a personalized consultation with our Long Grove estate planning lawyers today.
About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.