Have Wicked Witches Hijacked Our Business?

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

We have all been blown into a new reality. The DOL released its final rule re-defining the role of fiduciaries. Even if we click our heels 3 times, we’re not going back to the “suitability” standard. While this new rule applies to 401ks, IRAs and the like; we can’t really have our feet in different places so we should anticipate that the SEC, FINRA and state regulators will bring everything into synch with the DOL fiduciary standard for all lines of business. (Fact Sheet: Department of Labor)

DOL Going Forward

In the past, many leading advisors took a “client-centric” approach to their business. But going forward, insurance agents and financial advisors will not only need to put their clients’ interest first but they will have to document it and agree to be subject to civil litigation if there’s a dispute. Changes in documentation and compensation will be extensive. These changes are going to create many marketing opportunities for savvy advisors and financial institutions.

For IMOs, broker dealers, RIAs and insurance companies there will be multiple avenues for turning lemons into lemonade. There can be product innovation. There can be new technology and wealth management platform offerings. But since advisors will need to alter there business approach, training and education can be powerful tools. Key players will distance themselves from the competition by migrating to more consultative offerings than product-oriented tactics. 

Many observers believe the universe of financial advisors will shrink significantly. The leading advisors will thrive in this new environment. Marketing communications become critical. Product manufacturers and distributors will face fierce competition to even get the advisors attention much less a share of their business. It will become an escalating war of permission for value.

Market share can be captured using education and marketing communication to help advisors evolve their business. It’s not unlike the evolution in business that was spurred by advanced IRA and income planning over the last 10 years. FYI, we’ve helped businesses like yours execute more consultative and educational strategies like these with multi-billion dollar results.

One thing is clear: we’ve landed in a more “client-first” world and it will take a heart, a brain and courage to successfully navigate over the next few months.