The Uniform Fiduciary Standard

Myself along with a few others were interviewed last week by author, Lynn Brackpool Giles.  The topic of discussion on the table was the forthcoming Department of Labor’s (DOL) Conflict of Interest Rule aka ‘The Uniform Fiduciary Standard’.  Some of the main concerns expressed in the article by the author and those interviewed surrounded the onerous nature of complying with the new rules, the potential aggregate costs associated with advisor compliance and the potential impact, re: shake-up of the retirement plan landscape.  The article is linked here: DOL Fiduciary Rule Set To Shake Up Retirement Marketplace

In addition to the thoughts that I expressed within the article, I thought I’d share some of what didn’t make it in. Specifically, my opinion is that over time the industry and the advisors will absorb this highly onerous set of rules and a new “business as usual” will result. We will see new retirement plan business models created.

One such model that I’ve already started to see take hold is that of the ‘Retirement Plan Specialist’ partnering with unaffiliated non-specialist advisors, almost like an advisor “wholesaling” to another advisor. These new independent specialists will be those that can run effective conflict-of-interest-free retirement plan practices at a profit without the need to work with individuals beyond the plan relationship. If they partner with referring or non-affiliated wealth management advisors, a true symbiosis can occur and stay within the boundaries of the new rules.

Under this new model, the specialists will need to be scalable and efficient in their business practices, and their plans will need to be designed to be altruistic in nature favoring improving outcomes as the primary goal of the plans. There is nowhere better than Unified Trust in the industry at improving outcomes and we, as Discretionary Corporate Trustee and Named Plan Fiduciary are taking a large amount of the fiscal, investment and monetary burden off the shoulders of the plan sponsor and advisor. In conclusion, our services enable the advisor to be highly scalable, allows the advisor and employer to demonstrate that their plan is actually driving better retirement readiness and as an added benefit, significantly reduces financial and fiduciary risk for all involved.