Why Trump Won’t Roll Back New Fiduciary Regs

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

There have been significant differences of opinion on whether President-elect Trump will roll back the new fiduciary regulations set to go into effect on April 10, 2017. These fiduciary regulations, issued by the Department of Labor (DoL), require anyone working with retirement accounts to act as a fiduciary with regard to advice provided. I don’t believe the new Trump administration will cancel or roll back these fiduciary regulations. Here’s why. [Read more…]

Did You Hire The Right 401k Investment Adviser?

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

As a 401k plan sponsor, you are probably aware that there are some new fiduciary regulations going into effect in April of 2017. You probably have spent some time wondering (worrying?) whether these regulations affect your relationship with the investment adviser or investment advisor who works with your 401k plan. They might. Here’s how to tell. [Read more…]

Employers, You Should Be Appalled!

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

On June 1, 2016 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the Financial Services Institute and a number of other organizations filed suit against the Department of Labor (DoL) to stop the implementation of the new fiduciary rules.

Why you should be appalled

[Read more…]

What 401k Plan Sponsors Want To Know About The New Fiduciary Regs

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Since the Department of Labor released its final fiduciary compliance rules, there has been a tremendous amount of media coverage devoted to what plan sponsors need to know about the new fiduciary regs. Although much of it has been well written with good intentions, most of it has been wrong and has only served to confuse plan sponsors. Based on what I am hearing from plan sponsors, following is what you say you want to know about the new fiduciary regs: [Read more…]

New Fiduciary Regs: A Win For Plan Sponsors

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

On Wednesday, April 6, 2016 the Department of Labor (DoL) issued its final fiduciary regs for investment advisors working with retirement accounts. The rules were aimed specifically at brokers who provide investment advice to clients under the “suitability” requirement (which exempted brokers from being fiduciaries). The issuance of these final fiduciary regs ends a long war that the brokerage industry waged against regulators, employing all manner of threats to avoid fiduciary responsibility (e.g.; small clients will not be able to receive investment advice — absolutely ridiculous) and spending millions on intense political lobbying. Who won? Remarkably, plan sponsors!

What is a fiduciary?

[Read more…]

Plan Sponsors Should Support Harmonization Of Fiduciary Regulations

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

When the recently proposed fiduciary rules are finalized there will likely continue to be significant differences between how Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and brokers interact with their retirement plan clients from a fiduciary standpoint.

Currently, RIAs are required to act as fiduciaries to their clients while brokers, essentially, are not. This is confusing to plan sponsors because most assume that any investment advisor they work with takes on fiduciary responsibility when they share advice. However, since brokers are acting as agents for their employers, they are allowed to offer advice and products based upon a “suitability” standard. This standard permits brokers to share advice that may put their interests or their firm’s interests ahead of their client’s. RIAs are always required to keep their client’s best interests first. [Read more…]

Nine Questions Employers Have About Fiduciary Responsibility

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Recently the Department of Labor shared a proposed set of regulations about retirement plan fiduciary responsibility. As a result, many 401k plan sponsors have begun asking questions about their fiduciary responsibility. Following are the most frequent questions that I hear: [Read more…]

Who Is Impacted By The New DoL Fiduciary Rules

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

The Department of Labor’s (DoL) new proposed fiduciary rules have caused quite a bit of excitement in the retirement plan community. A frequent question has been who is and who is not impacted. Following are my thoughts on the impact of the new rules.

Who is NOT impacted by the fiduciary rules

Registered investment advisors (RIAs), existing plan fiduciaries, plan participants and plan sponsors will not be impacted or will be minimally impacted by the new rules. Anyone who is a fiduciary now will continue to be a fiduciary in the future, with little or no difference in how they interact with retirement plan sponsors or participants. Plan sponsors will not see any change in the content or type of fiduciary services or advice they receive from their advisors (unless their advisor is not currently serving as a fiduciary). Plan participants who have been receiving advice (from services like Financial Engines) will experience no change in the quality or content of the services they receive.

Who IS impacted by the fiduciary rules [Read more…]

Which Fiduciary Should 401k Plan Sponsors Hire: 3(16), 3(21) Or 3(38)?

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about whether plan sponsors should contract with their administrative providers for section 3(16) fiduciary services. Outlined below are the different types of fiduciary services available to 401k plan sponsors. [Read more…]