Data and Research

Investors Lack Fiduciary Awareness

Only 50% of investors who work with a financial adviser are certain whether their adviser is a fiduciary, while 38% don’t know if their adviser is a fiduciary or not, according to a Financial Engines survey. 

By John Manganaro | April 18, 2017
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A new survey report published by Financial Engines argues the fate of the Obama-era Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule has grown increasingly complex and uncertain since President Trump took office.

While the new president, along with Republican leadership in Congress, have expressed a desire to dial back or wholly overturn the fiduciary rule reforms, currently they are still very much intact. The rulemaking’s implementation has simply been delayed, from a previous target date of April 10 to instead take effect June 9.

It remains to be seen what path President Trump and/or Congress may take, but Financial Engines says it is abundantly clear that average Americans favor the implementation of new conflict of interest protections for the retirement plan investing industry.

According to Financial Engines, fully 93% of Americans “think financial advisers who provide retirement advice should be legally required to put their clients’ best interest first.” In fact, more than half of respondents (53%) mistakenly believe that all financial advisers are already legally required to put the best interests of their clients first.

On Financial Engines analysis, these two stats taken together should offer something of a moral imperative to advisers to be more willing to embrace true fiduciary roles.

NEXT: Testing investor understanding of conflicted advice