Would a Fiduciary Delay Matter?

As the fiduciary regulation applicability date nears and buzz about a possible delay continues, a new survey asks advisors how a potential postponement would affect their plans to comply with the rule.

According to a poll of advisors taken in January by Fidelity, 44% did not slow down their compliance plans, while another 19% were proceeding only slightly slower with their plans.

Regulatory and political developments remained top-of-mind for financial advisors in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the latest Fidelity Advisor Investment Pulse survey.

Advisors continued to keep their eye on the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule on investment advice as well as the election results, with more than 32% surveyed citing topics relating to government and the economy as areas of focus. Indeed, government and the economy was in the top three areas of focus for advisors throughout 2016, with a steady increase throughout the year from 28% in Q3, 21% in Q2 and 16% in Q1. Portfolio management came in second, with 26% of respondents citing it as an area of focus, versus 25% in Q3).

There was a three-way tie for third, at 11%:

  • Bonds and fixed income (down from 14% in Q3)
  • Interest rates (down from 13% in Q3)
  • Market volatility (down from 18% in Q3)

The report notes that alongside government and the economy, portfolio management remained a top theme throughout 2016. Given constant changes in terms of regulatory reforms, political and macroeconomic shifts and market volatility, many advisors directed their attention toward portfolio management to help clients navigate the uncertainty. And, according to the report, as it became clear that the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates in December, attention on rates began to shift toward the role of bonds and fixed income in clients’ portfolios and how these asset classes can help clients meet their long-term financial objectives.

The Advisor Investment Pulse is an ongoing primary research effort that captures the views of more than 1,000 Fidelity Institutional Asset Management advisor clients annually.

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