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What financial advisors need to do amid fiduciary rule delays

  • Most clients do not understand that not all financial advisors are required to put their clients' interests first, according to Josh Robbins, chief strategy officer at America's Best 401k.
  • Advisors who are already acting as fiduciaries should tout that status to clients and use it to their competitive advantage.

If you're a financial advisor who is already serving as a fiduciary, you need to be using that to your competitive advantage when working with clients.

"Most clients have no clue that right now the law doesn't require advisors to put their clients' best interests first, like a doctor, like a lawyer," Josh Robbins, chief strategy officer at America's Best 401k, said in an interview with CNBC.com.

That comes as regulators are still grappling with the implementation of a formal fiduciary rule that would require all advisors to keep clients' best interests in mind when providing advice.

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The Department of Labor has partially implemented its rule, with the remainder currently set to take effect in 2019. The rule would require brokers and other financial professionals to act with their clients' best interests in mind when giving retirement advice.

In the meantime, the Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly planning to propose its own fiduciary rule this year, according to reports. The agency was authorized to come up with its own fiduciary regulation in the Dodd-Frank legislation signed into law in 2010.

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Advisors who are already operating under that standard should tout that status, Robbins said.

"For those that have taken the steps to remove their broker affiliation and purely be a fiduciary to align themselves with a client in every aspect, to not have a dog in the fight, they need to use that story, because it's a huge differentiator," he said.

He added, "Leverage the fact that you are a true fiduciary on the right side of the client."

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