Thanks to several important federal regulations, most investors planning and saving for retirement in the U.S. can rest assured that their company retirement account is being managed in an ethical and prudent manner. In this post, we summarize the landmark law from 1974 that has such important implications today, and we discuss our continuing commitment to the higher values of the fiduciary rule.
ERISA and Accountability
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 was designed to set standards for private investments. ERISA has been such a landmark act for asset protection that it has enabled American workers to save over $5.3 trillion dollars in 401k plans as of March 31, 2018.
A key component of ERISA’s guidelines includes principles for the accountability of plan fiduciaries. A fiduciary is defined as someone who controls a plan’s assets and management. A financial planner held to a fiduciary standard occupies a position of special trust and confidence when working with a client. Most advisors that sell funds, annuities, or other financial products are not fiduciaries. Registered Investment Advisors (RIA), such as FIDELIS iM are legally required to act as a fiduciary.
The Fiduciary Rule
In April of 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) expanded the definition of a “fiduciary” under ERISA guidelines. The fiduciary rule, or “no conflicts” rule, stipulates that retirement advisors must act with their client’s best intentions in mind, not their own financial interests. Even though the fiduciary rule offers greater asset protection for investors, it met several challenges and delays.
On March 15, 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the fiduciary rule, sparking ongoing debate. A recent MarketWatch article points out that eleven states, including Oregon, have written the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to protest that “any standard less robust than [the fiduciary rule] does not provide adequate protection for investors.” Now, more than ever, clients must perform due diligence when selecting a financial advisor.
FIDELIS iM Protects your Investments
At FIDELIS iM, we protect your investments by growing your portfolio using the science of risk mitigation. We follow the ERISA standards designed for your protection, and we continue to apply the altruistic intention of the fiduciary rule with our standard of fiduciary responsibility. Managing investments in a diversified, ethical, and prudent manner is a core value at our firm.
FIDELIS iM continues to grow our reputation for success because of our disciplined approach to investment management. Learn more about our commitment to strong, principle-based investing by visiting our resources for Investment Management.