In a speech at the firm's annual conference in Washington, D.C., Raymond James Financial Services President Scott Curtis called on advisors to oppose the Department of Labor’s fiduciary proposal expected this fall and join the industry's grassroots campaign against the proposal.
Opponents of the DOL’s initiative, including SIFMA, point out that it could limit the public’s access to quality financial advice. "We don’t think this is healthy for the industry,” Curtis said. Under ERISA, conflicts of interest can’t just be disclosed, Curtis said Tuesday.
That means advisors may not able to continue working with clients who pay a commission on IRA accounts, he added. "We're working very closely with SIFMA and with the Financial Services Institute to oppose this proposed legislation," Curtis told attendees. "This is going to require a grassroots campagin by all of us in the industry if this legislation comes out as proposed."
While no one is certain of what the new rule will look like, it’s expected to expand the definition of a fiduciary to anyone who provides advice to retirement plans, including individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s.
At risk are consumers who do not have a huge 401(k)s or IRAs, those under the $100,000 level, says Judd Gregg, former CEO of SIFMA. These mass affluent investors could find themselves unable to use advisors to determine how they wanted to invest their retirement dollars.
The DOL is expected to release a re-proposed version of its rule in August, according to the agency’s rulemaking agenda. But many believe the DOL should wait to release its fiduciary proposal until after the SEC moves on the issue.
“It is a priority of mine to have the Commission reach a decision on this very important issue in this year,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White told the House Financial Services Committee last month.