IPB 072: How Do You Define “Best Interest”?

 

Well, the day of reckoning has come and gone. The new Department of Labor's new Fiduciary Rule is largely in effect across the financial services industry.

Discussion over the rule and its implications have been debated over the last couple of years with a fair degree of intensity. Still it seems that the smoke screen has worked.

The new rule expands the definition of a fiduciary as it relates to giving investment advice regarding retirement accounts.

We're not trying to explain the rule in today's episode…as far as I can tell from attending several informational webinars/meetings regarding the implications of the rule there's no agreement or real understanding of what it means for advisers.

Big surprise, right?

We aren't all that concerned with procedural issues (disclosures, paperwork etc.) as much as we're concerned about how this new rule warps the definition of “best interest” and what it really means to act in the capacity of a fiduciary.

Our issue isn't really about a rule change, that's just what's visible. What's more troubling is that policymakers are attempting to fix a perceived problem that they don't really understand. A new rule will not fix the problem.

According to information published by the Insurance Research Council, almost 13% of all automobile accidents in the U.S. are caused by people who have no insurance. Yet, it's illegal to drive without insurance in almost every state.

I got some breaking news for you…some people do bad things and writing new rules won't change it.

The new rule implies that what's in your client's best interest has an absolute right or wrong. And before you think it…yes, fraud is always wrong.

But…what's in my clients best interest is highly subjective and that has not changed–rule or no rule.


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