DOL rule Trump’d during TD conference

February 20, 2017 by Zach Weidman

A close-up of a microphone with a conference session audience in the background listening to a speaker about the DOL rule

About the author:

Zach Weidman

Enterprise account executive

Zach strives to help enterprise firms stay out in front of the pack with technology by helping to implement easy and repeatable internal processes. Zach enjoys learning more about a firms process to help fit technology and strategy together to achieve their goals.

Takeaways were vast after attending the TD Ameritrade LINC conference earlier in February. There were many discussions regarding various topics, but the highpoints seemed to be technology, integration, client experience, and broadening your value proposition. One topic, however, seemed to rule them all, and that was the impending April 10 implementation date for the DOL fiduciary rule.

Conversations throughout Wednesday and Thursday revolved around the plans for preparing for the ruling, as well as how firms were adopting technology and looking to experts to guide their journeys. We heard a lot of fear about what the ruling could mean for business and the processes many firms had not changed for years, decades even. Lastly, we heard a lot of skepticism in the rule and the fact that they believed it would be repealed all together. Some thought those wishes were granted that Friday morning.

The unknown future of the DOL fiduciary rule

As we showed up to our booth Friday morning, the buzz had already begun. Articles were circling with a news involving President Trump’s executive order on Dodd-Frank and the DOL fiduciary rule. At one point, a gentleman walked by our booth as we exchanged conversation around the rule and pumped his fist in the air, saying “it’s about time.” It seemed like a foregone conclusion the DOL rule might actually get stopped all together or delayed. The only issue is that people only grabbed the headlines of the article or posts in the social media flurry.

Digging into the articles a bit further revealed a bit more than the initial excitement of repeal amongst many conference attendees. It seemed to have been the same message we had been telling advisors on Wednesday and Thursday — stay the course. Many media outlets and professionals within the financial services industry assumed a delay, and the news spread like wildfire. After examining the executive order from President Trump, however, many began to understand that the executive order did not actually delay the rule.

Skip Schweiss, head of advisory advocacy at TD Ameritrade told ThinkAdvisor, “President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday afternoon directing the Labor Department to undertake an assessment of its fiduciary rule, and if it deems appropriate, a proposal to revise the rulemaking, which industry officials say would delay the rule’s April 10 effective date.”

Friday’s morning sessions contained many thoughts and viewpoints which seemed—once again—to come back to what has been over the last six months. Whoever has been prepared and has focused on shifting their business model toward a fiduciary standard is in a good spot. This sentiment can also be said for those that have relied on the rule’s delay. There could be trouble due to the fact that there will be a larger consumer push toward a fiduciary standard — even if the rule is repealed. As there were many conversations earlier this month about client experience, technology, and broadening your value proposition, the advisors and the firms that adopt those core pillars will be in a good position whether or not the rule goes in place.

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