Category: Registered Investment Advisers
What Does “Best Interest” Mean?
This is the 9th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.
“Best Interest” has because part of the American lexicon . . . as an aspirational goal or a demanding standard—depending on the point of view. But, what does best interest mean? It may mean different things to different people . . . and perhaps even to different regulators. However, I believe that most people would agree on the definition in this article.
As I read the guidance issued by the Department of Labor (DOL), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and New York State, there are actually two … Read More »
SEC Best Interests . . . When? And What About the DOL
This is the 7th of a new series of articles titled “The Bests.” The series focuses on Best Interest and Best Practices. Those topics give me flexibility to discuss a range of subjects that affect both service providers, including advisors, and plan sponsors, including 401(k) and 403(b) committees.
The Regulatory Agendas for the SEC and DOL were recently issued. Both have plans for guidance by September of 2019, but the anticipated timing of the guidance has, by and large, been misinterpreted. To understand what I mean, read on.
The SEC’s Agenda said that Final Action on the Regulation Best Interest proposal for broker-dealers and the Interpretation of Standard of Conduct for investment advisers would be “09/00/2019.”
Similarly, the Department of Labor Agenda said that there would be a final rule on … Read More »
Now that I have completed 100 articles about interesting Angles on birth –and death–of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule, and the birth of an SEC best interest standard for broker-dealers and RIAs, I am going to start on a new series. The new series, rather than being titled “Angles,” will be called “The Bests.”
So, from now on, my articles—maybe the next 100—will focus on two “bests”—the SEC’s best interest standard and best practices for advisors and plan sponsors.
I figure that the SEC’s best interest rules will be developed and implemented over the next year or two, giving me a wealth of materials for new articles. But, I don’t want to be limited to that. I think that it’s important to talk about best practices for retirement plans and retiree investing and withdrawing, with a focus on helping participants to and through … Read More »
Investment Advisers and the SEC’s Interpretation of Their Duties: Part II
This is my 100th article about interesting observations—or “angles”—concerning the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule and the SEC’s “best interest” proposals.
Part I of this post discussed the application of the SEC’s best interest standard to recommendations to participants to take distributions and rollover to IRAs. It also discussed the apparent requirement for a thoughtful and professional process to develop the recommendation. However, it reserved for this post, Part II, the factors to be considered in that process.
The RIA Interpretation lists a number of factors to consider in the best interest process. However, most of them apply to investment recommendations, rather than advice about distributions. But a few are helpful. For example, the costs of investments and services and consideration of the investor profile are relevant factors.
Under Reg BI, though, the … Read More »
Investment Advisers and the SEC’s Interpretation of Their Duties: Part I
This is my 99th article about interesting observations concerning the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule and the SEC’s “best interest” proposals.
The SEC labeled its interpretation of the standard of care for RIAs (the “RIA Interpretation”) as a proposal. However, in that proposal, the SEC explained that the RIA Interpretation was based on the SEC’s current understanding of the duties of investment advisers. More specifically, the SEC described the RIA Interpretation as reaffirming and clarifying the RIA fiduciary rule: “. . . we believe it would be appropriate and beneficial to address in one release and reaffirm—and in some cases clarify—certain aspects of the fiduciary duty that an investment adviser owes to its clients under section 206 of the Advisers Act.”
As a result, investment advisers should treat the RIA Interpretation … Read More »
Regulation Best Interest Recommendations by Broker-Dealers: Part 3
This is my 97th article about interesting observations concerning the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule and the SEC’s “best interest” proposals.
In my last two articles—Part 1 and Part 2 on this topic, I discussed the fact that proposed Reg BI and its best interest standard of care for broker-dealers did not apply to all of the recommendations made by broker-dealers. The proposed best interest standard for broker-dealers will apply only to securities transactions recommended to “retail customers.” (Reg BI defines a “retail customer” as “a person, or the legal representative of such person, who . . . uses the recommendation primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.”) I compared that to the SEC’s Interpretation for RIAs, which applies to all advice to all clients. This article gives examples of how the proposals … Read More »
Regulation Best Interest Recommendations by Broker-Dealers: Part 2
This is my 96th article about interesting observations concerning the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule and the SEC’s “best interest” proposals.
In my last post, I compared the proposed best interest standard of care for broker-dealers—the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”), and the SEC’s proposed Interpretation Regarding Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers (“RIA Interpretation”). In that article, I focused on the types of recommendations that implicated the best interest standard of care. For broker-dealers, the best interest standard only applied to recommendations of securities transactions and securities strategies. However, for RIAs the best interest standard applies to all advice and recommendations.
This article focuses on the advice recipients, that is, which investors will be protected by the best interest standard of care if the advice is given by a broker-dealer or, alternatively, … Read More »
SEC Proposed Reg BI and Recommendations of Rollovers (Part 3)
This is my 94th article about interesting observations concerning the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule and exemptions and the SEC’s “best interest” proposals.
Part 1 of this series discussed the provisions in the SEC’s proposed Regulation Best Interest that would impose a best interest standard of care for rollover recommendations by broker-dealers and their registered representatives. (More specifically, the standard applies if the rollover recommendation involves securities transactions—which would ordinarily be the case for participant-directed plans.) Part 2 described some of the considerations for developing a best interest recommendation process.
This article—Part 3—describes the proposed requirement to “mitigate” the conflict of interest inherent in a rollover recommendation.
Since a broker-dealer and its representative would not, in most cases, receive any compensation if a participant does not roll over, there is, to use the … Read More »
SEC Proposed Reg BI and Recommendations of Rollovers (Part 1)
This is my 92nd article about interesting observations concerning the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule and exemptions and the SEC’s “best interest” proposals.
On April 18, 2018, the SEC released three proposals for comment—Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”) for broker-dealers, an Interpretation about the Standard of Conduct for RIAs (“RIA Interpretation”), and a CRS—Customer/Client Relationship Summary for both broker-dealers and RIAs. That was the beginning of a lengthy process, and the outcome is uncertain. However, if these rules are finalized, the impact on the securities industry and investors will be significant.
My first reaction is that Reg BI, which imposes a best interest standard of care on broker-dealers, is strikingly similar to the DOL’s Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE). There are major differences—for example, the SEC proposal does not create a private … Read More »
Parallels Between the SEC Regulation Best Interest and the DOL Best Interest Contract Exemption (Part 1)
This is my 90th article about interesting observations concerning the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule and exemptions. These articles also cover the DOL’s FAQs interpreting the regulation and exemptions and related developments in the securities laws.
The SEC’s proposed Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”) is remarkable in its similarities to the DOL’s vacated Best Interest Contract Exemption (“BICE”). This article describes some of those similarities. Keep in mind as you read this that Reg BI applies to securities recommendations, while BICE would have covered any investment or insurance recommendation by a fiduciary advisor.
Reg BI, if finalized, will require that broker-dealers and their representatives act in the “best interest” of “retail customers,” which includes IRA owners and participants. The DOL’s BICE also would have required that … Read More »