The Department of Labor will alter the proposed fiduciary rule to change commissions from impossible to workable, according to the newly elected leader of one professional group.
Marcy Supovitz, the president-elect of the American Retirement Association, says that as the fiduciary proposal stands, commissions technically are allowed with an exemption. Called the “best interest contract exemption,” it allows firms to use their previous compensation models as long as they enter into a contract with clients that commits to the client’s best interest. Supovitz says the exemption as written is an impossible hoop to jump through—akin to allowing Americans to travel to England only if they swim.
With the rewriting she expects to see in the final version, commissions would be allowed on a limited basis. On a slow boat, perhaps.
She says DOL officials have indicated to her that pay restrictions will be eased in the final rule, but Supovitz says the final draft is unlikely to make commissions workable for advisors who are receiving them now and who would like to be paid that way.
Commissions are widely expected to be a source of court challenges to the regulations once they are put on the books,
Supovitz, who is also the co-owner of a Worcester, Mass., advisory business, says she is hearing a lot of talk in the industry about legal battles over the regulations.
“The one I hear most often related to companies who have a sales force selling proprietary products, because the way the rules are structured it does away with that business model,” she says.
The draft wouldn’t allow a company with its own investment products to have a sales force that would sell only those products without jumping through hoops, she contends.
The American Retirement Association is the umbrella organization for the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries, the National Association of Plan Advisors and the National Tax-deferred Savings Association.