A lot of financial advisors will be scrambling in the next couple of months if they want to meet the April 10 deadline for the implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor fiduciary rule, because only 5% are ready, AssetMark says.

AssetMark, a firm that provides support for advisors, says a minority of advisors are prepared for the change and only 2% have a formal plan to comply with the rule, which requires that a fiduciary standard be met for retirement accounts.

Of the more than 400 advisors that AssetMark included in its assessment, only 34% understand the new regulations well enough to implement them, a statistic AssetMark calls shocking. AssetMark and many other firms and organizations have been holding seminars and other educational sessions to prepare advisors for the changes needed to meet the rule, which requires advisors to place the interests of their clients ahead of their own.

Natalie Wolfsen, the chief commercialization officer at AssetMark, says advisors have not necessarily been procrastinating, but have been dealing with other client issues caused by recent market volatility and world situations.

“Advisors have a lot of anxiety about meeting the deadline, and a vast majority are worried there is not enough time to comply,” she says. “This is not because they don’t think the rule is important, but because they don’t think there is time to talk with all of their clients. Our impression is that the majority of advisors who took the assessment and who we are speaking to are interested in making a shift from commissions to fees.”

Many advisors have not inventoried their client base to see all the products each has, she says. They also have questions about the “best interest contract exemption” and when it is applicable.

“With or without the DOL rule, advisors should review their client base so they can better understand their business and their clients’ needs,” Wolfsen advises. “This will help them build a great practice.”