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RIA Compliance

The past two years have been some of the most momentous in the relatively short history of the RIA profession. Legislators and regulators have been gradually embracing the fiduciary standard, though whether it will fully apply to everyone calling themselves advisors remains to be seen.

The Department of Labor’s crusade to lower costs and increase transparency in retirement plans means a spate of new regulations affecting advisors and brokers in that market. Dodd-Frank Financial Reform, meanwhile, continues to unroll across the profession, with the biggest change being a shift to state oversight of RIAs with less than $100 million AUM. In this section, you’ll find continually updated RIABiz.com coverage on all these topics.


Chris Paulitz warned of “untold liability exposure and class action lawsuits"

Critic calls 'laughable' FSI study that shows only 14% of advisors want DOL rule to stay

The lobby group that sued to stop the DOL rule surveyed 1,300 member stockbrokers -- of whom 71% voted for Donald Trump

December 1, 2016 — 8:43 PM UTC by Irwin Stein

Financial advisors -- that's FAs as defined by FSI -- despise Hillary Clinton but they loathe the DOL rule, finds the Financial Services Institute Inc. in its newest study.

A full 86% of stockbrokers want President-Elect Donald Trump to repeal the DOL rule that radically ups the ...

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[Brian Hamburger and] Marc Cohen: We nail people down by text message.

MarketCounsel texts like crazy to get and keep its white hot speakers, Priebus and Scaramucci, nailed down

The speaking time slots for these Trump power brokers are elusive but the boys are coming to Brian Hamburger's Florida event -- perhaps with knives drawn for the DOL rule

November 25, 2016 — 8:55 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: How do you get something really impressive and power-bending accomplished? You bear down like all holy hell but you do so in a spirit of friendship and flexibility but with all technology that can be brought to bear. We never thought it was an accident that ...

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Wayne Bloom: If the facts and circumstances change we will modify our stance accordingly.

Commonwealth Financial will reverse course on commissions if DOL gets reversed

The Waltham, Mass. IBD's stance jibes with Wayne Bloom's earlier message of regulatory risk and reward as Merrill Lynch stays mum

November 18, 2016 — 6:02 PM UTC by Irwin Stein

Brooke's Note: As shocked as Hillary supporters are about Donald Trump, imagine the palms to foreheads by people who committed to reimagine their brokerage businesses based on a DOL rule as done deal. Maybe it still is. If you are Merrill Lynch and you have ...

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Bo Lu: What's a phone?

The odd and open courtship between the SEC and robo-advisors plays out again -- this time at an SEC-hosted webcast panel in Washington, D.C.

Mary Jo White introduced a forum with representatives from FutureAdvisor, Betterment and Personal Capital who mostly just nodded in assent at each other

November 15, 2016 — 10:22 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: Federal regulators and robo-advisors seem like odd bedfellows. But regulators have the dizzying challenge of inventing ways to apply old rules to new services that seem to evolve by the month. The robos have equal incentive to make sure that they keep evolving. The ...

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Brian Hamburger: The combination of a Donald Trump presidency and a Republican Congress will have an enormous impact on the momentum of the expansion of a fiduciary duty on those that give financial advice.

The DOL rule is DOA -- and that's just the beginning, says RIA champion Brian Hamburger, law school chum of odds-on chief of staff Reince Priebus

Another Trump advisor, hedge fund biggie Anthony Scaramucci, says the DOL rule is a goner along with other post-'08 consumer firewalls -- but fiduciary advocates see one last bulwark: BICE

November 11, 2016 — 5:29 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: Am I getting ahead of myself thinking Brian Hamburger may end up as our next attorney general? After Rudy Giuliani flames out, I can see President Trump turning to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and saying: Know any good lawyers? On the Priebus ...

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The report provides answers that add some clarity but surely will displease most people in the industry.

One security lawyer's unvarnished take on DOL's 34 answers to 34 questions and what unsettles him about them

The 24-pages of government-speak only make a dent in comprehending the 1,000-page rule -- and the DOL says there's more guidance on the way

November 8, 2016 — 6:46 PM UTC by Irwin Stein

Brooke's Note: As a career securities attorney Irwin is a clear-eyed reader of DOL FAQs. He also has clear misgivings about the way that the Department of Labor is trying to interrupt the massive conflicts of interest built into the financial advice business in the United States.   ...

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Howard Diamond: Advisors are reconsidering what’s most important to them, with a push from the very firms they have come from by way of less monetary incentive.

Why the DOL's Draconian and premature interpretation of its new rule is the 'end of the world as we know it' for wirehouse recruiting but a bonanza for the RIA business

Last week's DOL Q&A cast an immediate chill on wirehouses whose back-end-loaded incentives meant to jack up sales production have essentially been outlawed

November 4, 2016 — 4:02 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Howard Diamond

Brooke's Note: I get a handful of inquiries every week from people wanting know what a guest column submission to RIABiz should look like. There is no formula. But this piece by Howard Diamond is as good a prototype as I could hold out. It takes an ...

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David Amster: It’s an art form.

Chatting with David Amster as he joins a compliance risk firm in 'crowded' industry just as the DOL storm makes shore

Cutting his teeth at Salomon Bros., as a FINRA examiner and then UBS fixed-income compliance guy, Amster brings a portfolio of perspectives to the roiling sector -- but don't call him a consultant

October 31, 2016 — 6:27 PM UTC by Sarah O’Brien

Things are about to get real for compliance veteran David Amster as he takes the field in a war being fought on many fronts at a national compliance consultancy.

In his realm, regulatory sanctions suck hundreds of millions of dollars annually in fines from constituents, compliance officers complain of burnout, and new ...

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Wayne Bloom: Are you going to sit around and hope? You can't do that.

Commonwealth Financial to dump commission business for IRA and 401(k) accounts

Overcoming a 'challenging decision culturally,' Wayne Bloom pulls the trigger ahead of IBD rivals for his Waltham, Mass.-based broker-dealer

October 24, 2016 — 10:47 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

This article was updated with the comments of Ameriprise CEO to show what the exact opposite DOL attitude looks like at a broker-dealer.

Brooke's Note: This news broke late yesterday so I wasn't able to reach Wayne Bloom, who will take credit or blame for his company's ...

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Seth Rosenbloom: It was in process long before the Massachusetts stuff came to light.

Why robo-advisors meet the lofty fiduciary standard when so few humans can, according to an opinion written by Betterment's outside counsel

Automated advisors only know you so well -- but it's enough and you know exactly what you're getting, says a paper written by Morgan Lewis attorneys

October 7, 2016 — 2:11 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: About 270,000 of the 300,000 human financial advisors out there are not legally worthy of calling themselves fiduciaries. In other words, it is deemed by federal and state laws that they cannot hold themselves out as the kinds of people who can ...

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