And the one thing that was going to help stop this from continuing to happen might not survive some tough legal battles ahead.
President Donald Trump on Feb. 3 signed a memorandum directing the Department of Labor to reconsider its fiduciary rule, which would require financial professionals who provide retirement advice to act in their clients' best interests. The rule was scheduled to go into effect on April 10.
In response to Trump's request, the DOL has reportedly filed for a 180-day delay and wants to have another round of public comments on the rule itself.
Whether or not this rule survives could directly impact individual investors. Many financial firms were in the process of making positive changes in response to the rule and even publicly supported it. Of course, that was back when they were going to be required by law to do what was best for their clients.
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However, now that the Trump administration is threatening the rule's existence, it's likely that many financial institutions are going to stay silent, indicating that their former support was solely for public display.
To be fair, some financial firms say they will comply with a fiduciary standard no matter what happens to the regulation. That's the good news. However, silence from other institutions could be as bad as lack of public support. Because if your financial professional is not openly supporting the rule, then he or she may not be willing to fight for you. And once the rule is gone for good, it could mean reverting to business as usual.
It may be time for you to reconsider who you allow to manage your money. One thing is for sure: All investors need to ask that person to clarify their stance on the fiduciary rule. Because if the rule dies and that person is no longer required by law to act in your best interest, you should know whether they are committed to doing so anyway.