Advice Standards & the Department of Labor's (DOL) Fiduciary Rule
You may have read or heard about new Department of Labor (DOL) rules this year that clarify the fiduciary responsibilities of advisors who work with individuals and their retirement accounts. For years we anticipated that stricter fiduciary standards would become necessary to protect investors, as well as individuals that were just looking for unbiased financial advice and/or life planning.
The impact of the rule
The DOL has jurisdiction over many programs designed to enhance and protect the welfare of retirement investors. Up until now, the agency had focused mostly on the fiduciary responsibilities of pension fund managers. Today, however, more and more Americans rely on IRAs, 401(k)s, and other workplace retirement plans, as well as pensions, to fund retirement and are turning to financial advisors to help them with investment decisions. To address this reality, the new DOL regulations extend the fiduciary role to advisors who offer advice to individual retirement investors like you.
All account advisors and representatives who manage IRAs are now required to be fiduciaries. As you now know, this means they must act in the best interests of their clients when providing advice. Previously, registered representatives with broker/dealers were not held to the legal standard of a fiduciary.
As an existing client of ours
As a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) I always act in your best interest — so the new rules haven't changed our interactions.
When H. A. Kramer & Associates, PA (HAKAPA) registered as an Investment Adviser (RIA) in the State of Florida in 1999, the firm established our own higher fiduciary standards for the advice and planning services we offered. We always make sure to discuss potential conflicts of interest with clients when we give advice about retirement plans we do not manage, or whereever conflict exists, especially when changes are recommended. More information can be found in our Form ADV Part 2.