Results for "Fiduciary Corner"

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SEC on a fiduciary fishing expedition

March 31, 2013

On March 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission took a highly unusual — perhaps unprecedented — action. The agency issued a “request for data and other information” in advance of proposing a rule. Specifically, the commission requested...

Brokers need to rethink the IPS

February 3, 2013

The quintessential document governing investment decision making by fiduciaries is the investment policy statement. Brokers acting in a non-fiduciary capacity, on the other hand, typically haven't treated the IPS as an important tool of their...

Manage conflicts or the regulators will

November 25, 2012

Conflicts of interest are the single greatest obstacle to fulfilling fiduciary duty. A conflict of interest is a circumstance that tempts the professional judgment of fiduciaries to serve someone other than their charge. Typically, that someone...

Enforcement of securities laws a must

October 28, 2012

There is a crisis of investor confidence in the integrity of financial market participants and regulators. Although there are many underlying causes of the crisis, financial misconduct is clearly one that is both prominent and able to be remedied....

Are cost-benefit analyses exploited?

September 30, 2012

Cost-benefit analyses are either being productively used or abused in financial regulation, depending on your point of view. Those stances are embroiled in intensive debate, as highlighted by two recent events. The first is the introduction...

When duty clashes with public policy

September 2, 2012

State and local public pensions are in the cross hairs. Collectively, they are underfunded by between $1 trillion and $3 trillion (depending on earnings rate assumptions) and are a major reason for the precarious fiscal condition of thousands...

Adviser SRO: It could be the SEC after all

July 29, 2012

The Investment Adviser Oversight Act of 2012 appears to be in trouble. Support for the bill seems tepid at best on both sides of the aisle. The more members of Congress hear about possible Finra oversight of advisers, which is what the current...

Low rates flummox DB fiduciaries

May 27, 2012

Low interest rates have placed many named fiduciaries of defined-benefit plans in a particularly uncomfortable position. Poor investment performance has taken a toll on funding levels for pension plans, but harsh business conditions are making...

Giving due diligence its due

April 29, 2012

Financial advisers to retirement plans need to recalibrate their thinking about Section 408(b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Rather than focusing on what it means for their own disclosure obligations, they need to...

Fiduciary standard doesn't raise costs: Study

April 1, 2012

A new study out of Texas Tech University casts significant doubt on brokerage industry claims that the fiduciary standard leads to higher costs and fewer product choices for investors. Ever since the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act empowered the Securities...

Leveraging retirement fee disclosure rules

March 4, 2012

After more than four years in the making, the Labor Department's “new” Section 408(b)(2) disclosure rule is finally set to take effect July 1. Investment advisers, record keepers and just about every other financial services provider you...

Why advisers aren't true professionals

February 5, 2012

Financial advisers can learn a valuable lesson from accountants about professionalism and adherence to a fiduciary standard. Recently, in preparation for a talk at the annual conference of the personal-financial-planning segment of the American...

Using employer stock in qualified plans

January 8, 2012

In the best of times, both retirement plan participants and sponsors can benefit from the inclusion of employer stock in a company's participant-directed retirement plan. Employees share in the success of their company by using a convenient,...

High standards are needed for those we trust

November 27, 2011

Trusting people carries risks. Finding better ways to mitigate and manage these risks is a continuing challenge for individuals, institutions and society at large. Sometimes, however, the best learning opportunities arise when trust breaks down....

New concerns for retirement plan providers

October 30, 2011

For providers of financial services to Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 plans, fees are a double-edged sword. They are an important source of profit, but the more aggressively they are applied, the greater the regulatory and litigation...

Proxy voting lets fiduciaries use power

October 2, 2011

Proxy voting is one of the most powerful but underutilized tools that fiduciaries have to serve the best interests of investors. Through their voting power, shareholders, especially institutional shareholders, have the ability to influence directly...

Fiduciary foes: Don't count your chickens

September 4, 2011

When Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee warned the Securities and Exchange Commission to halt the process of fiduciary rule making, it was a pretty blatant signal that the stage has been set for a courtroom showdown....

Taking their cue from Congress

August 7, 2011

I think I found the model for how opponents of the fiduciary standard hope to render the standard meaningless after financial regulatory reform. The model has four parts that can work perfectly to dilute the fiduciary standard and render it...

DOL plugs a yawning gap in ERISA rules

June 26, 2011

There is a gaping hole in ERISA regulations that allows many investment service providers to escape fiduciary accountability for the advice that they provide to retirement plan sponsors and participants. The problem is that the Employee Retirement...

Cultural changes overshadow reform

May 29, 2011

A shift in culture for investment advisers is overtaking regulatory reform in scope and significance. Although subtle evidence of the shift can be observed in the United States, it is readily apparent in Australia and New Zealand, where I recently...

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