The Department of Labor’s Proposal on ERISA Fiduciary Status for Investment Advisers
By now, you are likely inundated with summaries and analysis of the Fiduciary Rule, prepared both internally and externally, including commentary from industry based trade and lobbying associations. While the Fiduciary Rule affects RIIA® members in differing ways, we can all agree on three things –
- by broadening the scope of fiduciary conduct, the Fiduciary Rule disrupts nearly forty years of experience we have with the application of ERISA’s definition of investment adviser,
- the Fiduciary Rule is complicated
- by broadening the scope of fiduciary conduct,
- by carving out exceptions to the application of the Fiduciary Rule,
- by providing Prohibited Transaction Exemptions (“PTE”), with conditions to apply to certain circumstances where the Fiduciary Rule will otherwise apply, and
- by revising several long standing PTEs to conform to the Fiduciary Rule,
- the Fiduciary Rule will impact all RIIA members to some degree.
RIIA’s purpose today is not to add another summary of the Fiduciary Rule to your reading stack. Rather, it is to articulate RIIA’s role in retirement income as the Fiduciary Rule is debated, shaped and absorbed over the ensuing months.
RIIA does not lobby. Moreover, RIIA members who break out as fiduciaries or non-fiduciaries will likely be affected by application of the Fiduciary Rule in differing ways. And, as the Fiduciary Rule is shaped over time, the interests of RIIA members are expected to diverge.
In making these observations, RIIA believes it can be the unifying beacon to the benefit of all, including consumers who are those sought by the DOL to be the beneficiaries of the Fiduciary Rule. In short, RIIA offers “competency” to all members and to fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries alike. For example, RIIA’s Procedural Prudence MapSM is illustrative of “best practices.” These practices are published and refreshed precisely to assure the competencies RIIA brings to a retirement income practice.
Finally, as your department, organization or industry group develops comments or position papers to be provided to the DOL, RIIA will be available to review a working draft should you chose to provide material for RIIA feedback.