Department of Labor’s Retirement Advice Standards
An amended Department of Labor (DOL) rule, including a requirement to adhere to the Impartial Conduct Standards became applicable on June 9, 2017, and remains in effect. Implementation of the full rule, however, has been delayed until July 1, 2019. Uncertainty in the financial industry remains and it is expected that legislation will continue to be presented that could modify or halt implementation.
What's changing...and what isn't?
The Department of Labor (DOL) rule states that all advisors and registered representatives who manage retirement accounts and plans are now required to be fiduciaries, meaning they must act in the best interests of their clients when providing savings and investment advice. While other firms and advisors might had to make significant changes to their business, we have not.
Almost 10 years before these new industry regulations were required, we became Accredited Investment Fiduciaries® (AIF®)* adhering to the fiduciary standard of acting in your best interest. The new rules, whether modified or halted, will have little impact on how we work with our clients. It does not alter the standard of integrity, care, and service we have always offered at OakWood.
We support a fiduciary approach and believe the intent of the rule is well-meaning and consistent with the overall direction in which the financial services industry is heading. The rule is a significant step toward addressing conflicts of interest and provides more transparency of the costs associated with financial advice.
Determining the best course of action for you.
OakWood Financial Services is currently determining the best way to implement the requirements of the upcoming DOL changes. With this shift in the industry, we are looking forward to new and stronger investment options being made available. If a change in your account structure is warranted, please be assured we will make it as clear and straightforward as possible.
*Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designees have acquired a thorough knowledge of fiduciary responsibility; a fiduciary is required by law to always act in the best interest of their client, beneficiary, or retirement plan participant. AIF® designees have successfully completed a program on investment fiduciary standards of care at the Center for Fiduciary Studies and have passed a comprehensive examination of the 27 Prudent Investment Practices. Designees are also required to adhere to continuing professional education requirements, which keep them abreast of recent events in the industry that affect every fiduciary.