SIFMA Fears New DOL Rules Could Hurt Brokers
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) supports a uniform fiduciary standardto govern all financial professionals. But SIFMAfears that new Department of Labor (“DOL”) rules could hurt brokers who both provide advice and traditional brokerage services. They also argue that writing the standard should be the work of another government agency.
Both the SEC and DOL are working on fiduciary rules in order to ensure that their regulatory efforts are appropriately harmonized. SIFMAhas urged the SEC to find a middle ground between the needs of the investment advisor and the broker-dealer, and, at the same time,protecting the clients’ interests. However, DOL is responsible for enforcing rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) which imposes high standards of care and loyalty on the fiduciaries of pension plans and IRAs to protect plan participants and IRA customers from the dangers posed by advisors’ conflicts of interest. Accordingly, DOL is expected to offer a stronger standard than the SEC. Indeed, DOL rules are believed by some industry observers to hold brokers to the same standards as RIAs and certified financial planners.That’s something that SIFMAargue could be very difficult for many of its members, especially those advising clients on qualified assets.SIFMA claims, “The DOL‘s fiduciary proposal would adversely affect millions of IRA holders and plan participants with assets expected to reach $7.3 trillion by 2016.”
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