So, we finally have the ruling, after much anticipation and prognostication (including from us at IFS) the DOL Best Interest Contract Exemption ruling has been published, all 317 pages of it. If you need a little sleep aide, the entire document can be found here. The general consensus is that the final ruling is a reduction in burden to the financial services community, while still staying true to the clear objective to protect the individual investor and their retirement assets from excessive fees or unsuitable investment products.
Some of the anticipated issues that caused concern from the proposed ruling have been adjusted, especially in the area of what needs to be provided to the client prior to and after the product selections have been made. There is still going to need to be additions to the required disclosures when opening a new account, but the proposed point of sale requirement has been eliminated, which would have been a very difficult line to draw--when does talking about potential investment options constitute a recommendation that required disclosures? That is hard to say.
There is still plenty in the DOL fiduciary rule that needs to be analyzed in order to determine how your processes, procedures, documents and movement towards level fee accounts will need to change in order to comply. The final rule represents a realization that many of the proposed changes were counter-productive to reducing the cost to provide quality advice. We now have the opportunity to respond at a reasonable pace and with the clarity that gives us, as an industry, a much better chance of achieving documentable and demonstrable recommendations that are in the client’s best interest and doing so cost efficiently.
Now, let’s get to work! And, don't forget to register for our upcoming webinar on the final DOL rule by clicking the button below.