A U.S. firm is offering a new course for financial advisors to help educate them about the requirements of a fiduciary standard.
According to New York based SS&C Learning Institute, the goal of the course is to, "define a uniform decision-making framework that is based on fiduciary best practices, FINRA rules, and financial planning principles." The course is available online or in class, and the firm also offers a "train-the-trainer" program so that companies can provide the training in-house.
The new educational offering comes as regulators on both sides of the border are contemplating revised conduct standards for advisors. In the U.S., the Department of Labor (DOL) has adopted a rule requiring advisors to adhere to a fiduciary standard when providing retirement advice. However, enforcement of certain provisions of the rule has been delayed, in response to a Trump administration directive.
In Canada, securities regulators in Ontario and New Brunswick are working on a proposed "best interest" standard. An expert committee in Ontario has also recommended that a fiduciary standard be introduced for financial advice.
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In the meantime, SS&C indicates that advisors and firms should be training to provide fiduciary-level advice.
"Financial services firms are fixated on the DOL rule since there is widespread agreement that it is going to expose the industry to significantly more litigation. However, liability is more likely going to turn on whether a firm can demonstrate that its advisors, brokers, or agents are procedurally prudent. Firm-wide training on a prudent decision-making process and code of conduct is what many executives have overlooked," says Don Trone, senior fellow at the SS&C Learning Institute, who developed the course.
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