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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.


Scott MacKillop: The real concern is that the rule will prevent the industry from charging retirement plan clients high fees and offering them conflicted advice.

The time is now for the investment industry to shed its shameless culture or pay a steep price

Enough feeble excuses and convoluted rationalizations for delaying the DOL rule

13 hours ago by Guest Columnist Scott MacKillop

They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast. -- The Eagles, Hotel California 

It’s a shameful sight.

For more than six years, forces within our industry fought tooth and nail to prevent enactment of the Department of ...

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Irwin Stein: Unless the advisor is in a coma, it is always an uphill battle for a client to question an advisor’s judgment.

A veteran securities lawyer takes contrarian stance that the DOL is still 'suitability' reworded, when boiling its 1,000-page 'rule' down to 16-page 'guide'

In prolix prose, the Labor Department's 'exemptions' sound like fiduciary exceptions; as poems, they sound like suitability-level loopholes

January 18, 2017 — 6:23 PM UTC by Irwin Stein

Brooke's Note: Irwin Stein penned one of our better-read articles of 2016: A veteran of securities law killed his weekend reading all 1,000 pages of the DOL rule -- and has a takeaway to share. Fortunately for us, I convinced him to kill ...

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Virginia Foxx: The Obama administration advanced a partisan rule that makes it even more difficult for hardworking men and women to save for the future.

Who's afraid of Virginia Foxx and friends? Maybe pro-DOL forces should be but no panic yet

With nine days and counting until President Trump, Conservatives deploy fresh troops in Washington with guns trained on the DOL rule

January 12, 2017 — 12:49 AM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: Anyone related to the new Trump administration, whether their name is Scaramucci, Foxx or Wilson, has nothing good to say about the DOL rule. But a new "list" with virulent anti-DOL rule language got Janice Kirkel digging deeper. Who are these people -- especially a ...

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Knut Rostad: RIAs must also say what non-fiduciaries don't, won’t or can't do. They must highlight tasks that, in fact, many non-fiduciary firms won’t let their brokers perform.

Where RIABiz's view of RIAs as oases-of-ethics bumps up against the Merrill Lynch & Co. mirage -- and why that mirage is still so effective

Fiduciary watchdog Knut Rostad warns that RIAs must zealously expose wirehouses tricked out in best-interests-of-the-investor drag

January 6, 2017 — 6:33 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Knut Rostad

Brooke's Note: Earlier this week, in the spirit of the New Year (and juiced up on DayQuil), I wrote a piece about how RIAs were looking good heading into a Trump era where ethics may be viewed as so much sand in the gears of commerce ...

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If I were to start, say, Southall Financial Advisors, my mission statement would begin: 'I started this firm because I wanted a place where I would feel safe sending my mother or best friend to receive financial advice that would make them confident about their future.'

Why 2017 dawns brightly for RIAs, an oasis of unflinching ethics in an ethics-optional atmosphere

The better part of registering with the SEC directly as an RIA is that nobody is making you do it and clients can feel it even if they don't fully understand your poorly phrased explanations

January 3, 2017 — 10:50 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: I awoke today to a cold rain and the third day of a sore throat. I decided to stay home. It wasn't the way I wanted to ring in my first true workday of 2017. But wretched symptoms aside, I have always liked the way ...

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Peter Mallouk owns a $21-billion RIA already growing with organic ferocity. Then Tony Robbins shows up and whoosh.

The 10 RIABiz stories advisors connected with most deeply in 2016 and how hubris and humility ran amok in this didn't-see-it-coming year

How did Aequitas swamp CONCERT? Power outages at LPL, Cetera and Wealthfront? Adolescent robo problems? And was that Tony Robbins hawking his money book ... again?

December 28, 2016 — 5:54 PM UTC by Dina Hampton

Brooke's Note: Choosing which articles were of greatest interest to RIABiz readers in 2016 was easy because a Google robot  measures the final results of your reading output.  We then refresh your human memory about why the story was so irrestistible at the time. Big ...

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Paul Saganey: We didn’t even discuss the prospects for a sale in our talks.

How a $4-billion OSJ jumped ship from Lincoln Financial to LPL just before the Mark Casady step-down in search of safe harbor in the eye of DOL-rule storm

Lincoln wins in that Integrated Financial Partners still gorges on its products but CEO Paul Saganey likes the better control over fees under LPL

December 12, 2016 — 7:47 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: The major difference between OSJs and IBD rep firms is that OSJs typically shoulder far heavier compliance burdens. That makes OSJs more of the canary in the DOL-mine as regulations and ebb and flow. That may help explain why a $4-billion OSJ is ...

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Lobbying took on a new meaning at the Fontainebleau this week at the MarketCounsel Summit.

MarketCounsel Summit 2016 – the theme is when the boss calls, you go

The Fontainebleau glitters, but not with newly minted Trumpsters, as Summit chief Brian Hamburger got more than he bargained for with the conference's theme of 'change'

December 9, 2016 — 4:41 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

I first became aware of MarketCounsel Summit 2016 in October, when I met Brian Hamburger for the first time, at a Fidelity conference in New York at what used to be the Helmsley Palace. I met with Brian briefly in the media room, he told ...

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Ron Rhoades: The worst case would be adopting a rule and calling it fiduciary when it is actually a much weaker standard.

At MarketCounsel, a Ron Rhoades-Skip Schweiss exchange reveals new DOL-rule threat -- a Trump-led compromise creating a mutant strain of the reg that benefits no one

The problem, Rhoades says, is that a pseudo-fiduciary standard asks consumers to assume the burden of knowing what's best for them when it comes to investing, which brings the problem full circle

December 7, 2016 — 8:33 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

Brooke's Note: We sent correspondents to this week's MarketCounsel Summit looking for a more definitive picture of the future of the DOL rule. Here is a dispatch from its DOL panel and intensive off-panel conversations with two of its participants which reveal a potentially grayer, uglier outcome under all the ...

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Kellyanne Conway, flanked by Marc Cohen and Brian Hamburger, uttered not a word related to DOL, Dodd Frank or any other RIA-related matter.

MarketCounsel Summit weathers Trump mayhem as Scaramucci and Priebus bail and Kellyanne Conway makes a night flight to Miami

A frenzied speaker-substitution effort was capped by a wee-hours lobby stakeout for Conway

December 6, 2016 — 9:17 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

Brooke's Note: Doing what she does best -- smoothing over rough edges for Donald Trump and the rest of the boys who surround him --  Kellyanne Conway today made her way to the MarketCounsel Summit in Miami to cover for two no-shows in Scaramucci and Priebus and ...

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