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DoL uncertainty: What to do now

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Like many, I was surprised by Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s decision to proceed with the June 9th implementation date of the DoL’s fiduciary rule. I was not, however, concerned about being able to comply. If advisers follow these guidelines, they won’t be, either.

There is a method for dealing with the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the rule. It isn’t easy for some but it will help you survive and thrive.

When working with clients, pretend you must defend your advice based on a bona fide fiduciary standard in a real courtroom full of your family, friends, and your other clients.

If you do this, you will be thinking like a fiduciary. You will make more defensible recommendations. You will look at products with a more critical eye and you will find yourself continually seeking better ways for your clients.
The best advisers already do this — regardless of how they are actually regulated or the form of their compensation.

They act as though they are fiduciaries, paid only by their client, every time and all the time.

Regardless of what happens to the DoL’s rule, the move toward fiduciary is well underway all over the world. Much of the former British empire has banned commissioned income. Clearer lines are being drawn between advice and product distribution.

Get ahead of the trend with your thinking and your processes now and you should do well.

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