Shawn has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and has held leadership positions in both the broker dealer and RIA space. Shawn leverages his vast industry experience to help investment firms implement financial planning technology solutions which allow their clients achieve financial success.
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Over the past year, the Department of Labor (DOL) Conflict of Interest Rule has held the financial services industry hostage. For many firms, the “on again, off again” rule has been a distraction from their everyday business and has left advisors wondering what the future of their client interactions will look like. As with most legislation and regulatory changes, there is a lot of grey area and confusion about the implementation and enforcement of the new regulations.
At Advicent, we are in the unique position of speaking with many different firms and advisors on a daily basis, which gives us the opportunity to see the many ways that the industry is preparing for the new way of life under the DOL rule.
What we are seeing is that the most successful firms are taking a simplified approach to addressing the regulatory changes, which is helping them turn the distraction into opportunity. Try using this simple three-step process to evaluate what changes your firm could easily make to be positioned for success regardless if the DOL rule lives or dies.
Ignore the noise
The daily back and forth between lobbying firms and regulators has caused firms to delay action in hopes that the rule will ultimately be killed so things can go back to business as usual. Since the structure of this rule has been floating around for many years now, it is clear that at least some parts of the rules will eventually go into effect at some point. Ignore the commentary, and look at how you can begin illustrating on a daily basis that you are acting as a fiduciary for your clients.
In a best-case scenario, you have prepared for the implementation of the rule when it arrives. If the rule is never actually implemented, you will be operating from the very competitive position of being able to show your clients how you are acting in their best interests. Either way, you win by taking your business to the next level and becoming a fiduciary for your clients.
Look for opportunity
Since the time that the DOL introduced the fiduciary rule, there has been an increased amount of firms and advisors asking experts what the DOL rule means for the financial services industry. The more information that you gather on the rule and the more you learn, the easier it is to find ways to benefit from implementing certain parts of the rule — even if there is some uncertainty of what the rule may look like going forward.
Think about how marketing your firm as a fiduciary sets you apart from the competition that is not taking action unless the rule is implemented. Many of the firms we serve are taking a new look at how holistic financial planning can be a new revenue stream for the firm, all while building stronger client relationships, generating more leads, and ultimately setting up an early structure to comply with the DOL rule should it ever full go into effect.
Lean on technology
After you have identified how you can benefit from implementing parts of the DOL rule today, ensure you evaluate different technologies that can help you streamline and create a repeatable process. If you adopt the right technology on the front end of your process, you will have the benefit of immediate efficiency.
We are noticing that the firms who are able to move the fastest and create the most value are using technology to create the most productive environment. As part of your technology evaluation, you must work closely with technology vendors to learn best practices to implement the technology and find new revenue streams quickly.
If you need help understanding how you can grow your business by ignoring the DOL noise and implementing new technology to create a competitive advantage, please contact Advicent to understand how we are helping transform businesses in a less than certain environment.
To learn how Advicent technology can help your firm maintain compliance with the DOL rule, click here.