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New "Conflict Of Interest Law": Put Customers First


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The Labor Department announces New “Conflict of Interest Law” in April 2016.  In general, the new law requires Financial Advisors and Brokers (individuals and their companies) to now put their customer’s best interests first over theirs. Wait a minute. What?  Are you saying that before this law, this was not the case?  Yes, that is correct.  The purpose of the law is to remove the conflicts of interests from advisors.  Most people on the street assume that both their advisor and their companies are operating under a standard like a medical doctor.  A person who is obliged to provide services that is in the best of the customer.  Before this new law, it read to provide services that were “suitable” for the customer. 

Also it is interesting that the Labor Department by passed the SEC which would normally be the governmental branch to deal with advisors.  However, the Labor Department does oversee pensions and retirement accounts.  And it took six years to get it passed into law.  The Labor Department was dealing with Wall Street and the insurance industry.  With its passing, the law becomes the biggest change pertaining to financial advice in about forty years.  Over the last year the industry had lobbied Congress to kill or delay the law. It has been estimated that American’s lose about $17Billion a year due to advisors having conflict of interests over their customers.  Some say the new requirements will end up hurting the middle class investors, who are the ones it is supposed to protect. They say they will have trouble getting financial advice since the advisors will most likely start focusing more on much higher wealthier individuals.  Some suggest that advisors tend to steer investors into higher cost products or those with weak returns, but pay higher fees to the advisor that brings about the conflict.  As of 2015 there are about $7.3 Trillion in IRAs and approximately $6.7 Trillion in 401(k) accounts.  Keep in mind these only apply to those providing “specific financial advice”, providing general information and providing educational information are not considered advice until a broker makes a specific recommendation.  The law goes into effect in April of 2017.  But advisors only have to start following all of its provisions starting in January of 2018.  And there is always the possibility that it may be challenged in the coming months via some court action.

Unlike your typical Financial Advisors and Brokers we at Port Wren Capital, LLC always have put our clients interest first, because our clients interest and our interests are aligned. The basic objective is to achieve higher returns and lower fees. Learn more about how we can make a difference in your investments today.

At Port Wren Capital, LLC, we specialize in picking specific undervalued U.S. stocks using fundamental analysis developed by Benjamin Graham using a five step process. We have beaten the S&P500, DJIA and NASDAQ benchmarks since we started 5 years ago on our own investments. Discover the difference for yourself. To learn more contact us today.

Published: 5/1/16




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