February 13, 2017 | by James Behr Jr & Christopher Paleologus
Blue Bell Private Wealth Management always has and always will be a fiduciary.
On Friday afternoon February 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to delay, with the expectation to revoke, the passing of the fiduciary rule that was set to go in effect in April 2017. How would the fiduciary rule affect investors and advisors?
For years the Department of Labor (DOL) wanted to reassess the financial advice industry surrounding retirement. They believe that if someone wants to seek advice for their retirement plan, they should be getting the best possible advice based on their interests.
The DOL’s rule says that advisors must act in the best interest of their clients and place their clients’ interests above their own. Perhaps this strikes a nerve and makes you ask the question ‘Wait, my advisor doesn’t have to put my best interests first?’ Well, not necessarily.
Let’s put this in perspective. Without the fiduciary rule in place, an advisor is able to choose one investment with a higher payout given to him or her over similar investments that might be cheaper to their client. A firm that is commission-based could easily take advantage of a vulnerable investor without any regard to their financial interests. For many years, Wall Street has been able to force expensive or more risky investments on investors even if there were cheaper alternatives. The fiduciary rule was devised to ensure that an investor was able to put their trust in their advisor without something like this happening.
Wall Street argues that they have the freedom of choice when it comes to deciding whether they want to be a fiduciary or not and the implementation of the rule goes against that notion. Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn stated that the rule is “like putting only healthy food on the menu, because unhealthy food tastes good. But you shouldn’t eat it because you might die younger.” Many firms in the industry claim that a concern is that consumers may actually end up paying more for advice if a firm followed the mandates of the new rule.
Having trust in an advisor is the most important aspect in your relationship with an investment professional. At Blue Bell PWM, we always have and always will stand by our fiduciary responsibility. Our clients’ best interests is what we strive for and there will not be any changes to our obligation.
Your best interests are our best interests here at Blue Bell PWM and we take pride in upholding that responsibility. We strongly encourage you to understand a firm’s fiduciary obligation and to keep that in mind when choosing an investment professional.