With the Trump administration signalling it will roll back the Department of Labor’s proposed “fiduciary rule” for retirement accounts, it’s a good time for retirees to examine how their funds are being managed. Are your accounts being overseen by a fiduciary like Richard C. Young & Co., Ltd., that is required to put your interests ahead of theirs, or are you doing business with a brokerage strictly focused on distributing securities among its clients and reaping commissions and fees along the way? Michael Wursthorn writes at the Wall Street Journal:
President Donald Trump’s move to roll back the Obama-era fiduciary rule amounts to a reprieve for parts of the financial-services industry and puts the onus back on retirement savers to avoid conflicts by stockbrokers.
The executive action, backed by pockets of Wall Street but excoriated by consumer advocates, aims to give individuals more investment choices and businesses the opportunity to offer them. At the same time, some brokerages have said even if the rule didn’t stick, they intend to embrace some of its tenets as good business practices.
While Friday’s order gives the Labor Department discretion over whether to revise or rescind the rule, the move is expected to delay the April 10 implementation deadline.
With the rule effectively on hold, if not dead, retirement savers can be pitched products that are in line with their needs and risk tolerance but that yield a higher commission for brokers, such as with certain types of annuities and some mutual-fund share classes. Critics of the rule have long contended it would punish smaller savers in the form of less access to financial advice, put heftier fees on those who trade infrequently and would be costly for brokerages to implement, especially smaller firms.
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