May 2016: Resources on the DOL Fiduciary Proposal

The Department of Labor (DOL) published its controversial fiduciary rule proposal on April 6, 2016. The announcement incited a wave of media coverage on how the legislation may disrupt the way retirement plan advisors operate. The DOL investment advice rule is a complex proposal with wide implications and an evolving structure, leaving many advisors seeking answers to how the rule will impact their work. At its core, the highly anticipated fiduciary rule intends to protect the best interest of investors saving for retirement while creating a heightened level of transparency on behalf of financial professionals. This Mutual Fund Monitor—Advisor Report explores resources coverage group firms released around the DOL’s fiduciary rule announcement on April 6, 2016. For it, we reviewed all resources released between the dates of March 1, 2016 through April 30, 2016.

Twelve out of 20 coverage group firms (60%) released some degree of content addressing the DOL investment advice rule during our review period. We also considered materials from one firm that falls outside of our typical coverage group: Pioneer Investments. Webinars were a popular method for educating advisors on the ruling’s implications, offered by 58% of firms. Other common resources include commentaries and Q&A’s. Several firms maintain periodically updated pages that solely track content and news regarding the rule. Firms also conducted advisor surveys in order to gauge sentiment on the rule and identify key areas of concern. Content generally addressed all of the same topics relating to the rule, such as the BIC and compensation models. Content surrounding the ruling at this phase is predominantly informational, and it may beneficial for firms to begin supplying advisors with materials that will help them adjust to potentially heightened practice management needs.