RIAs win one with Fiduciary Rule Delay

When it comes to standards, I know Kosher is Kosher. However, when it comes to meat, observant Jews now only eat Glatt Kosher meat. It’s a higher standard in the sense that it’s supposed to mean that the there is a lack of blemish or adhesions of the internal organs of the animal. Now, it doesn’t mean that Hebrew National isn’t Kosher, but it means that it’s not Kosher enough for many observant Jews and they’ll only eat it if Glatt Kosher meat isn’t available.

When we talk about President Trump’s delay of the fiduciary rule, I think it’s a bonus for registered investment advisors (RIAs). Why? RIAs have always been a fiduciary under the Plans they work on and in my opinion, the fiduciary rule watered down the fiduciary standard to make brokers fit under the new definition. RIAs don’t sell proprietary product and charge a level fee. Brokers could still sell proprietary products and charge varying fees as long as it’s the best interest of the client. While the best interest contract exemption will protect plan sponsors, litigation will determine what is in the best interest of the clients.

So that means RIAs would have had the Glatt Kosher fiduciary standard while brokers would have only had to meet the Kosher fiduciary standard, or as I called it fiduciary-light. The competitive advantage that RIAs have in marketing would have been lost if everyone had to meet the fiduciary standard, but RIAs still had to answer to a higher standard that most plan sponsors wouldn’t be aware of.

So in my opinion, RIAs still maintain an advantage by being the only advisor being required to serve as a fiduciary. Just my two cents.

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