Warren Asks Financial Services Firms Where They Stand on Fiduciary Rule

By Nevin Adams • January 20, 2017 • 0 Comments
One of the fiduciary regulation’s strongest proponents has reached out to the financial services sector for some support.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has written to nearly three dozen financial services firms, firms that her letters suggest have “already announced” positive steps to ensure that their advisers are offering investment products that are in the client’s best interest.

Noting that rolling back the new rule would not only be bad for consumers but “for the investment advisers and financial institutions who have already spent time and money implementing this new rule,” the letter not only states that “the overwhelming majority of financial institutions and advisers are ready to comply with the rule,” but that “any significant changes to the rule going forward would result in increased legal fees, compliance costs, and time spent implementing those changes.”

“Given the work your company has already done to implement this important new rule, I wanted to find out whether you will support the next administration’s efforts to reverse the significant progress your company, and many companies industry-wide, have already made toward meeting this higher standard,” she writes.

The Questions

Her question (response respectfully requested by Jan. 31, 2017) actually takes the form of a half dozen questions, specifically:

  • Do you support the next Administration’s stated plans to delay the conflict of interest rule, making it easier for advisers to profit by selling clients products that are not in their best interest?

  • If you have dropped prices in anticipation of this new rule, do you plan to increase prices if the next administration successfully weakens or repeals this rule?

  • If you have eliminated or reduced the number of assets you sell on a commission basis, do you plan to return more products to a commission-based sales model?

  • What steps has your company already taken to implement the new rule?

  • How much money do you estimate that your company has already spent to implement this new rule?

  • Have the announcements of further changes to this rule, on the eve of the anticipated implementation date, created uncertainty for your company in the short- or long-term?

The Addressees

As for the firms she has reached out to, they include:

Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Capital One Financial
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P.
Janney Montgomery Scott LLC
Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Morgan Stanley
Raymond James Financial, Inc.
Charles Schwab & Co.
John Hancock Financial Services, Inc.
U.S. Bancorp
Voya Financial, Inc.
Wells Fargo & Company
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
BBVA Compass Bancshares
BlackRock, Inc.
Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.
Commonwealth Financial Network
Fidelity Investments
Legg Mason, Inc.
LPL Financial LLC
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Principal Financial Group
Royal Bank of Canada
SunTrust Banks
Symetra Life Insurance Company
TD Ameritrade, Inc.
Vanguard Group
Prudential Financial, Inc.
Transamerica Corporation

It’s not the first time that Warren has written to the financial services industry. Whether she’ll get responses this time or not remains to be seen.