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DOL Rule Saves Wirehouses Big Bucks in Recruitment

October 13, 2017

While the financial services industry generally may have mixed feelings about the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, large brokerages are saving millions of dollars on recruitment bonuses as a result of it already, The Wall Street Journal writes.

The rule, which requires retirement account advisors to put clients’ interests ahead of their own, was unveiled last year and went into partial effect in June. One provision of the rule in particular — the clause requiring “reasonable compensation” — is helping wealth management firms shave millions of dollars off the billions they’ve been paying to lure top brokers, particularly with forgivable loans, according to the Journal.

Morgan Stanley and UBS, both of which have said they’ll curb recruiting costs, are already reaping the benefits, the paper writes. In the most recent quarter, Morgan Stanley’s recruitment loans layout fell to $4.24 billion, 13% lower than a year prior, according to the Journal. UBS’s recruitment loans dropped 15%, to $2.75 billion, meanwhile, the Journal writes.

Following a directive from President Donald Trump to review the Obama-era rule, the DOL has already pushed back its final implementation date, originally scheduled for January, by 18 months and already eased some of its requirements. Regardless of the ultimate fate of the rule, it has already affected the recruiting environment in a way that’s likely to save wealth management firms money, Devin Ryan, a financial industry analyst at JMP Securities, tells the Journal. And it’s likely going to spell a healthier bottom line, he tells the paper.

Morgan Stanley declined comment to the Journal, but UBS tells the paper it’s funneling the savings toward retaining current reps and their clients’ assets. Earlier this week, UBS said it plans to triple its training budget.

Meanwhile, a bill to repealed the DOL’s fiduciary rule just passed a House panel, ThinkAdvisor writes. The Protecting Advice for Small Savers Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., in September, would create a best-interest standard for broker-dealers and place enforcement of the standard into the hands of the SEC and Finra, effectively killing the DOL’s rule. The House Financial Services Committee passed the bill with a vote of 34 to 26 and now heads to the House floor, ThinkAdvisor writes. Dale Brown, president and CEO of the Financial Services Institute, and Dirk Kempthorne, president and CEO of theAmerican Council of Life Insurers, applauded the panel’s decision, according to the publication.

The committee also passed the Senior Safe Act, which protects financial professionals from liability when reporting suspected financial exploitation of senior clients, ThinkAdvisor writes.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the ThinkAdvisor article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the Wall Street Journal article cited in this story, click here.