Tag Archives: Insurance

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors #55

The Department of Labor’s “Fiduciary Rule,” PTE 2020-02:  The FAQs

This series focuses on the DOL’s new fiduciary “rule”, which was effective on February 16. This, and the next several, articles look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) issued by the DOL to explain the fiduciary definition and the exemption for conflicts of interest.

Key Takeaways

  • The new fiduciary “rule”—Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2020-02–has two parts.
  • The first part is the expanded definition of fiduciary advice (in the preamble to the PTE).
  • The second part is the prohibited transaction exemption.
  • However, changes are being considered for both the definition and the exemption (as well as for other exemptions for nondiscretionary fiduciary advice). This article discusses the likely changes and the DOL’s regulatory agenda.
  • The change to the fiduciary definition will likely cause even more advisors and agents (and their firms) to be fiduciaries for plans, participants and IRA owners.
  • The changes to the exemptions will impose additional compliance burdens on investment advisers, broker-dealers, banks and insurance companies.

Background:

The DOL’s prohibited transaction exemption (PTE) 2020-02 (Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees) allows investment advisers, broker-dealers, banks, and insurance companies (“financial institutions”), and their representatives (“investment professionals”), to receive conflicted compensation resulting from non-discretionary fiduciary investment advice to retirement plans, participants and IRA owners (“retirement investors”).

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SECURE Act and Guaranteed Income (Part 3)

The introduction to my last two posts, SECURE Act Part 1 and SECURE Act Part 2, explained:

There are two parts of the SECURE Act that I believe will have the greatest impact on my clients: plan sponsors and plan service providers. The first includes the provisions on retirement income, including the safe harbor for selecting a guaranteed income provider, the ability to distribute guaranteed income investments if a plan no longer want to offer those products, and a new requirement to give participants projection of their retirement income. The second impactful part is the authorization of Open MEPs (Multiple Employer Plans), which the law calls “PEPs” (or Pooled Employer Plans). That change will allow financial institutions to sponsor plans that can be adopted by multiple (or even many) unrelated employers, transferring much of the fiduciary responsibility onto the financial institution.

Part 1 discussed the fiduciary safe harbor for selecting an insurance company to provide the guaranteed retirement income products for defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k) plans). Part 2 covered the common guaranteed products in 401(k) plans under the pre-SECURE Act rules.

This article talks about two practical issues: (1) the need for the guaranteed retirement income products to be on recordkeeping platforms, and (2) the role of plan advisors in helping 401(k) fiduciaries understand and select the insurance company and the product.

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SECURE Act and Guaranteed Income (Part 2)

The introduction to my last post, SECURE Act Part 1, explained:

There are two parts of the SECURE Act that I believe will have the greatest impact on my clients: plan sponsors and plan service providers. The first includes the provisions on retirement income, including the safe harbor for selecting a guaranteed income provider, the ability to distribute guaranteed income investments if a plan no longer want to offer those products, and a new requirement to give participants projection of their retirement income. The second impactful part is the authorization of Open MEPs (Multiple Employer Plans), which the law calls “PEPs” (or Pooled Employer Plans). That change will allow financial institutions to sponsor plans that can be adopted by multiple (or even many) unrelated employers, transferring much of the fiduciary responsibility onto the financial institution.

That post then discussed the fiduciary safe harbor for selecting an insurance company to provide the guaranteed retirement income products for defined contribution plans (e.g., 401(k) plans).

This article talks about the types of guaranteed retirement income products currently found in 401(k) plans. Let me start by addressing two common areas of misunderstanding.

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SECURE Act and Guaranteed Income (Part 1)

There are two parts of the SECURE Act that I believe will have the greatest impact on plan sponsors and service providers.

  • The first part includes the provisions on retirement income, including the safe harbor for selecting a guaranteed income provider, the ability to distribute guaranteed income investments if a plan no longer want to offer those products, and a new requirement to give participants projection of their retirement income.
  • The second impactful part is the authorization of Open MEPs (Multiple Employer Plans), which the law calls “PEPs” (or Pooled Employer Plans). That change will allow plans that can be adopted by multiple unrelated employers, transferring much of the fiduciary responsibility onto the sponsor of the PEP, which could be, g., a financial institution, a recordkeeper or an advisory firm.

This article discusses the fiduciary safe harbor for selecting the provider (e.g., insurance company) for a guaranteed retirement income product. The other provisions will be discussed in future articles.

Continue reading SECURE Act and Guaranteed Income (Part 1)

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