I hope that Europe’s “The Final Countdown” is ringing in your ears. Last month was the six-month mark until the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule goes into effect. That means every single service provider of investment advice or recommendations regarding financial plans or retirement accounts has a mere six months to get up to speed on compliance. This is no small feat, especially when it comes to time and resources required to ensure that firms are compliant. While we can’t offer tips on staying compliant, what we can offer is tips on communicating what the DOL rule is, what you’re doing to stay compliant and what all of this means for investors.
Whether you’re a broker-dealer or a financial advisor if you haven’t started talking about the DOL rule you should start making a plan ASAP. The sooner you begin to communicate with investors, advisors and stakeholders, the better. Here’s what to do:
- Review the DOL FAQs. Before you begin, make sure you know what you’re talking about. The DOL is currently releasing detailed FAQs to answer advisor questions. The first FAQ has been released (check out InvestmentNews’ discussion of it here), but there are two more to come likely before the end of the year.
- Create your plan, your message and consider EVERYTHING. The DOL fiduciary rule is happening, so this is no time to critique the rule, its origins or its purpose. Now is the time to determine what you’re going to do about it and how you’re going to do it. The plan that you implement between now and April is the most important piece of the puzzle.
Financial advisors, are your clients going to have new investment options? Do your clients even know what the rule is or what it means for them? Your plan and steps thereafter need to ensure that your clients are in the know and confident in you ability to advise them as a true fiduciary.
Broker-dealers, do your advisors know what the plan means for their business? Do they know what you’re doing behind the scenes to support them? How are you going to help them comply with the DOL rule?
- Communicate, communicate, COMMUNICATE. Now that you have a plan of attack for keeping up with the new DOL requirements, share that plan. Utilize your website, email campaigns, social media, press releases. Build educational resources like articles, infographics and blogs. Make it known. This isn’t one and done either. Your communications materials are going to need to be updated often and you’re going to need to keep stakeholders and relevant parties filled in every step of the way.
- WealthManagement.com also has some great tips for those that need help fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility.
The implementation of the DOL fiduciary rule is inevitable. The countdown is on. Things will never be the same again. Don’t wait a minute longer to develop a communications plan to ensure full transparency and confidence in your stakeholders, advisors and investors.