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Warning to FAs: IRA Rollovers Are in Regulators' Crosshairs

December 4, 2018

Financial advisors must proceed with caution when handling individual retirement account rollovers as this area of financial planning is increasingly a major focus for regulators, InvestmentNews writes.

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which purported to require retirement account advisors to put clients’ interests first, made many firms revamp their policies when it came to IRA rollovers, according to the publication. And despite the rule being killed by an appeals court earlier this year, some firms have opted to keep those policies in place to protect themselves from the current spotlight, InvestmentNews writes.

Other advice practices are taking steps to be compliant under the SEC's proposed advisor conduct standards, which many expect to be less stringent than the DOL’s rules, according to the publication.

Fred Reish, a partner at the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath, tells InvestmentNews that advisors who want to be in compliance with the SEC’s proposed rules can just follow the old proposed DOL rules. Elizabeth Miller, president of Summit Place Financial, tells the publication her firm’s clients must now sign a four-page disclosure document including acknowledging that the firm would charge a new fee.

Regardless of their approach, advisors need to keep in mind that both the SEC and Finra have included IRA rollovers on their respective lists of top examination priorities over the past few years, InvestmentNews writes.

That means advisors should at the very least explain the benefits and costs of IRA rollovers to their customers — and have signed documents attesting to having had that conversation, according to the publication.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the InvestmentNews article cited in this story, click here.