When an appeals court vacated the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, many states decided to take the fiduciary issue into their own hands. Then, the Securities and Exchange Commission put forth a rule package that would require brokers and advisors to act in their clients best interests, falling short of what consumer advocates would a call a “fiduciary rule”.
Many states and consumer advocacy groups aren’t happy with the federal government’s efforts to create a standard of care for brokers and advisors, so they’ve taken action on a local level. Some states’ legislation have already gone through; others remain stalled.
William Galvin, secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a vocal proponent for a fiduciary standard, but he’s currently waiting to see the SEC’s final rule before taking action on state level. And the DOL recently put it on the schedule to revisit its fiduciary rule in fall 2019.
Here’s where some states’ efforts stand.
Nevada – Last summer, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 383, holding financial advisors in the state to a fiduciary standard. The law only authorizes Nevada’s secretary of state “to adopt regulations concerning such fiduciary duty’ providing penalties; and providing other matters” related to it. The regulations are still pending.
Connecticut – Connecticut’s law, signed on July 5, 2017, doesn’t go as far as mandating a fiduciary standard for advisors. Rather, the Connecticut Act requires financial planners to disclose the fact that they are not held to fiduciary standard if a client requests it. Financial planners who are fiduciaries are also obligated to disclose that to clients upon request.
New York – In December 2017, the New York Department of Financial Services announced a state proposal that would require sellers of life insurance and annuities to act in the best interest of clients. The rule was finalized in July of this year.
Maryland – Two bills were introduced in the Maryland legislature earlier this year that would have imposed a fiduciary duty on broker/dealers and investment advisors. However, the fiduciary language was taken out of both version of the bills.
New Jersey – Just this month, New Jersey issued a notice of pre-proposal on a rule imposing a fiduciary standard for investment professionals.
Illinois – In February, a bill was introduced into the state assembly titled the “Investment Advisor Disclosure Act”. This is simply a placeholder bill; no language has been drafted yet.