Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #32

Regulation Best Interest: Best Interest and Suitability—How They Differ (Part 3)

Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) imposes a “best interest” standard of care on broker-dealers for their recommendations of securities and investment strategies to retail customers. That raises the question, what does best interest mean and how does it differ from suitability?

(Note:  While the discussion in this article is based on Reg BI’s best interest requirements for broker-dealers, the SEC has also imposed a best interest standard on investment advisers. As a result, investment advisers should also be attentive to these issues.)

As I explained in Parts 1 and 2 of this article (Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #30 and #31), the difference between best interest and suitability is a hard question without an easy answer. However, based on the SEC’s discussion in the Adopting Release, I have developed examples of where best interest appears to impose a more demanding standard than suitability. These examples focus on the Reg BI requirement that broker-dealers (and their registered representatives) consider costs in the development of recommendations. While costs are not the only factor to be considered, the SEC says that the best interest rule makes cost a more important factor than it was under the suitability standard.

Continue reading Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #32

Share

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #31

Regulation Best Interest: Best Interest and Suitability—How They Differ (Part 2)

Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) imposes a “best interest” standard of care on broker-dealers for their recommendations of securities and investment strategies to retail customers. That raises the question, what does best interest mean and how does it differ from suitability?

While the discussion in this article is based on the Reg BI best interest requirements for broker-dealers, the SEC has also imposed a best interest standard on investment advisers.  As a result, investment advisers should also be attentive to these issues.

Continue reading Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #31

Share

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #30

Regulation Best Interest: Best Interest and Suitability-How They Differ (Part 1)

Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) imposes a “best interest” standard of care on broker-dealers for their recommendations of securities and investment strategies to retail customer. That raises the question, what does best interest mean and how does it differ from suitability? That’s a hard question without an easy answer. Even the SEC acknowledges in the adopting release for Reg BI that:
Continue reading Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #30

Share

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #29

Best Interest Standard and Recommendations of Rollovers and Withdrawals

On June 15, SEC Chairman Clayton issued a statement partially entitled:  “Need for Increased Care when Recommending 401(k)/IRA Rollovers and Withdrawals . . .”. As that title suggests, the Chairman’s statement covers areas where the SEC will focus on recommendations when Reg BI applies on June 30. One of those areas of “increased care” is the recommendation of rollovers (and other withdrawals) from retirement plans.

The best interest standard for investment advisers became applicable last year. As a result, the Chairman’s statement already applies to rollover recommendations by investment advisers.

One part of the statement is entitled:  “Areas Where Increased Care May be Necessary When Making Recommendations to Main Street Investors“. In that part, the statement says:

Continue reading Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #29

Share

States Enact Good Samaritan Broker Laws

The aging of the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers is highlighting the difficulties resulting from the cognitive decline of the investors of those generations. The inability of some of those senior investors to understand and process financial information is inconsistent with our self-reliant investing culture, which is largely based on disclosures in lengthy documents. Part of the burden is being placed on advisors due to the new best interest standards for broker-dealers and insurance brokers and agents. In addition, the SEC has heightened the expectations of the existing best interest standard for investment advisers. In addition to the burdens, there are also opportunities for advisors to help protect senior investors from financial abuse.

Continue reading States Enact Good Samaritan Broker Laws

Share

The CARES ACT: Helping Your 401(K) Participants During the Coronavirus Crisis

Waiver of Required Minimum Distributions

Updated through July 28, 2020
By Fred Reish, Bruce Ashton and Betsy Olson

This is the third in our series of articles on special CARES Act provisions designed to help your 401(k) participants.  In our prior articles, we discussed the temporary loan enhancement rules and coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs).  Here we discuss the temporary relief from taking required minimum distributions.  NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect guidance issued after the original publication, in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notices 2020-50 and 2020-51.

Continue reading The CARES ACT: Helping Your 401(K) Participants During the Coronavirus Crisis

Share

The CARES Act: Helping Your 401(K) Participants During the Coronavirus Crisis

Special Distributions to Qualified Participants

Updated through July 28, 2020
By Fred Reish, Bruce Ashton and Betsy Olson

Our first article discussed CARES Act provisions designed to help your 401(k) participants with temporary loan enhancements.  Here we discuss a second provision of the Act that can help participants who are affected by the coronavirus (called “qualified individuals”*).  This is a special coronavirus-related distribution (a CRD).  Though we discuss this in the context of 401(k) plans, the CRD provision applies to all qualified plans, 403(b) plans and IRAs as well.  NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect guidance issued after the original publication, in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 2020-50. 

Continue reading The CARES Act: Helping Your 401(K) Participants During the Coronavirus Crisis

Share

The CARES Act: Helping Your 401(K) Participants During the Coronavirus Crisis

The Enhanced Loan Provision for Qualified Participants

Updated through July 28, 2020
By Fred Reish, Bruce Ashton and Betsy Olson

With the spread of the coronavirus and the resulting closures and cutbacks, many 401(k) participants are working reduced hours, but are not considered to be terminated for purposes of ERISA. Furloughs and similar required leaves are common for businesses whose employees interact directly with retail customers, such as restaurants, stores, and gyms.

Continue reading The CARES Act: Helping Your 401(K) Participants During the Coronavirus Crisis

Share

The Coronavirus Crisis: What Plan Sponsors Should Do

By Fred Reish and Bruce Ashton

The Coronavirus pandemic is disrupting everyone’s personal and financial lives. While our health, and that of our families and friends, is paramount, we realize that the sudden and large investment losses in the 401(k) plans that you sponsor – and act as fiduciaries for – present issues more challenging than those typically encountered by employers and plan committees.  This article suggests steps that you can take as fiduciaries to address those challenges.  The article also applies to advisors because it addresses questions they may get from plan sponsors.

Continue reading The Coronavirus Crisis: What Plan Sponsors Should Do

Share