The Department of Labor recently issued new regulations that will require financial advisors and brokers handling individual retirement and 401(k) accounts to act in the best interests of their clients. Many consumers assume the individuals and firms investing their money are operating under the same legal and ethical standards as a doctor, who must provide the very best advice, when this may not always be the case. Generally speaking, brokers are only required to recommend “suitable” investment advice, meaning they can recommend a more expensive investment that pays a higher commission or creates some form of revenue sharing when an identical, less expensive fund would have been an equal or better alternative.
This recent ruling issued regulations establishing that anyone giving advice concerning an IRA or retirement account will be considered a fiduciary and must act in the clients best interest. . But for advisors who only recommend one type of product or brokerage firms that exclusively use “preferred partner” investments, this new law could possibly be a serious problem for them.
Unfortunately, it may be years before this ruling actually goes into effect because of the legal challenges from big businesses that don’t want these rules to be imposed. And it could be many years before the regulators clear out those who don’t want to put your interests first, but it is a good start.
As I’ve shared on my TV show, many of you are unaware of the undisclosed fees you may be paying in your accounts. This can have a huge impact on your income in retirement. So, how do you know if you are working with the right advisor, meaning a professional required by law to put your interests first before their own financial interests? Simple. I recommend you get a second opinion. Because seriously, isn’t your long term financial security worth a second opinion?