Every day in 2016, I saw an article in our trade press speculating about what the Department Of Labor’s final rule on fiduciaries and retirement plans would look like. Finally, the wait is over and the rule is in place. But the speculation has not ceased. It has merely redirected its focus.
The most popular topic now seems to be how the rule will be challenged. As various industry groups begin to sue, people wonder if they can stop the new regulations or at least alter them.
Also, how will the rule fare once the new president takes office? Unsurprisingly, some in Congress have already proposed legislation to halt the DOL’s implementation, though these measures are unlikely to pass under the current administration.
Otherwise, the question is, “What will advisors have to do now?” Recently, I was subjected to a slew of theories at conferences.
At one panel, somebody said, “Look people. With the DOL rule, if you aren’t recommending LTC policies, you are asking for trouble.”
I thought that a bit odd. The DOL rule applies to the advice, or lack thereof, applied to retirement accounts and IRAs. LTC issues are handled under completely different standards, regulations and jurisdictions.
I expect product-sponsored speakers to extol the virtues of their products, so I didn’t take much from the comment other than that the speaker had shifted from educator to promoter. He lost some credibility with me for that shift, but I was happy for the good information he had shared and only rolled my eyes a little bit (since innovations in long-term-care insurance are otherwise encouraging).
A day later, I sat in on a program about retirement income delivered by an academic who is a fan of immediate annuities. That is fairly common in the academic community. The presentation was sound and all was well.
Then the speaker said, “If you aren’t recommending immediate annuities, you are going to have issues.”
At another conference, I was listening to a speaker about reverse mortgages and, yep, you guessed it: If we aren’t recommending to people that they set up a reverse mortgage line of credit at the very least, the DOL will be after us.