The continuing controversy over which advisor activities are included in the definition of a fiduciary has extended to IRA rollovers.
A new financial advisor practice guide raises the question and provides some recommendations for advisors.
Currently, advisors are not considered fiduciaries when they recommend that retirement plan participants roll over assets from an employer-sponsored plan into an IRA, say Department of Labor regulations. But new regulations that the DOL plans to propose later this year might expand the definition of a fiduciary to include any advisor who provides investment advice on or solicits an IRA rollover, says Matrix Financial Solutions Inc., a Broadridge company, which produced the practice guide, IRAs & the Erisa Fiduciary Rules: Updates and Best Practices for a Changing Regulatory Environment. The guide examines how new rules might change who is considered a fiduciary.
Under proposed rules being considered by the DOL and Congress, advisors may be considered a fiduciary for providing certain investment support activities to retirement plan sponsors and participants that are not now considered fiduciary activities.
Any or all of these changes may mean advisors would need to change their business model and compensation structures if they continue to work with IRAs, says Matrix. Any changes could have a substantial impact on the way advisors work with IRAs and on the availability of advice to participants, the guide says.
In the meantime, Matrix suggests advisors analyze their current practices for IRA rollovers and monitor all legislative and regulatory changes.