Fiduciary Rule Aftershock: Communication Considerations for Financial Services Brands

510965424Lost in the mainstream press was last week’s announcement from the Department of Labor issuing new protections for investors addressing conflicts of interest in retirement advice. What is widely known in the investment industry as the “Fiduciary Rule” has been met with much hand-wringing over the past several months by large financial institutions and for good reason. The final rule was released last Friday, and the new legislation expands the type of investment advice covered by fiduciary protections. Trillions of dollars are at stake. $14 trillion to be exact. Heading into 2016, Americans have more than $14 trillion saved in retirement accounts—that’s more than the combined gross domestic products of Germany and Japan! With just over $7 trillion in IRA retirement accounts and just under $7 trillion in defined contribution plans, $4.7 trillion of this in 401(k) plans, broker dealers, financial advisors, and asset management firms are assessing what the changes might mean for their businesses. With so much money at stake, what are the most important communication considerations for financial services brands to share with current and future customers?

Clearly define what being a fiduciary means

At a baseline, firms should be striving to clearly define what exactly the role of a fiduciary is and what the benefits are to their customers. Trust, transparency, a complete absence of a conflict of interest, and always placing the interests of the investors first are all part of the conversation. Many customers aren’t aware that this wasn’t the standard in the investment industry, so education is necessary. For some firms who manage assets and offer planning services for a flat fee, the communication should be less complex. Essentially, many have already been following many of these investor protections for years and now this law will add additional provisions ensuring each investor’s best interests are always placed first. Other firms might face a seismic shift to their compensation structure—from a commission-based, transactional business model to one that is fee-based and focused on total volume of assets managed.  How will the rule change their advisory services and what needs to be relayed to existing clients? Communication is just one portion of their challenges. A complete reevaluation of how they will do business going forward and the ability to meet increased compliance regulations will come first. In fact, many firms have already begun adjusting or exiting the advisory business. MetLife recently sold their advisory business to MassMutual and experts expect more consolidation across the industry.

Rising standards, more risk

With the increase in standards and investor protections comes increased compliance, costs and liability. In fact most experts are still studying the 1,000-plus page rule; however it is already clear that investors now have more ability to sue. Communication will be more important than ever in evaluating every external client and customer interaction. Marketing must not only be compliant, but it needs to still be effective and consistent whether talking to a new potential customer considering a 401(k) rollover, or an existing client evaluating their financial plan and whether a certain investment supports their goals. Determining the right messages that differentiate the brand while resonating with each target audience will be more important than ever.

The investment industry is in the early stages of transformational change. Brokers and advisors are for the first time competing on a level playing field when it comes to standards for offering investment advice. Now that almost everyone is playing by the same rules, it’s imperative to have strong communications counsel to help navigate the changing landscape.

What opportunities and challenges does your financial brand face? Contact us here for an exploratory conversation.

How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fiduciary Rule Aftershock: Communication Considerations for Financial Services Brands

510965424Lost in the mainstream press was last week’s announcement from the Department of Labor issuing new protections for investors addressing conflicts of interest in retirement advice. What is widely known in the investment industry as the “Fiduciary Rule” has been met with much hand-wringing over the past several months by large financial institutions and for good reason. The final rule was released last Friday, and the new legislation expands the type of investment advice covered by fiduciary protections. Trillions of dollars are at stake. $14 trillion to be exact. Heading into 2016, Americans have more than $14 trillion saved in retirement accounts—that’s more than the combined gross domestic products of Germany and Japan! With just over $7 trillion in IRA retirement accounts and just under $7 trillion in defined contribution plans, $4.7 trillion of this in 401(k) plans, broker dealers, financial advisors, and asset management firms are assessing what the changes might mean for their businesses. With so much money at stake, what are the most important communication considerations for financial services brands to share with current and future customers?

Clearly define what being a fiduciary means

At a baseline, firms should be striving to clearly define what exactly the role of a fiduciary is and what the benefits are to their customers. Trust, transparency, a complete absence of a conflict of interest, and always placing the interests of the investors first are all part of the conversation. Many customers aren’t aware that this wasn’t the standard in the investment industry, so education is necessary. For some firms who manage assets and offer planning services for a flat fee, the communication should be less complex. Essentially, many have already been following many of these investor protections for years and now this law will add additional provisions ensuring each investor’s best interests are always placed first. Other firms might face a seismic shift to their compensation structure—from a commission-based, transactional business model to one that is fee-based and focused on total volume of assets managed.  How will the rule change their advisory services and what needs to be relayed to existing clients? Communication is just one portion of their challenges. A complete reevaluation of how they will do business going forward and the ability to meet increased compliance regulations will come first. In fact, many firms have already begun adjusting or exiting the advisory business. MetLife recently sold their advisory business to MassMutual and experts expect more consolidation across the industry.

Rising standards, more risk

With the increase in standards and investor protections comes increased compliance, costs and liability. In fact most experts are still studying the 1,000-plus page rule; however it is already clear that investors now have more ability to sue. Communication will be more important than ever in evaluating every external client and customer interaction. Marketing must not only be compliant, but it needs to still be effective and consistent whether talking to a new potential customer considering a 401(k) rollover, or an existing client evaluating their financial plan and whether a certain investment supports their goals. Determining the right messages that differentiate the brand while resonating with each target audience will be more important than ever.

The investment industry is in the early stages of transformational change. Brokers and advisors are for the first time competing on a level playing field when it comes to standards for offering investment advice. Now that almost everyone is playing by the same rules, it’s imperative to have strong communications counsel to help navigate the changing landscape.

What opportunities and challenges does your financial brand face? Contact us here for an exploratory conversation.

How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fiduciary Rule Aftershock: Communication Considerations for Financial Services Brands

510965424Lost in the mainstream press was last week’s announcement from the Department of Labor issuing new protections for investors addressing conflicts of interest in retirement advice. What is widely known in the investment industry as the “Fiduciary Rule” has been met with much hand-wringing over the past several months by large financial institutions and for good reason. The final rule was released last Friday, and the new legislation expands the type of investment advice covered by fiduciary protections. Trillions of dollars are at stake. $14 trillion to be exact. Heading into 2016, Americans have more than $14 trillion saved in retirement accounts—that’s more than the combined gross domestic products of Germany and Japan! With just over $7 trillion in IRA retirement accounts and just under $7 trillion in defined contribution plans, $4.7 trillion of this in 401(k) plans, broker dealers, financial advisors, and asset management firms are assessing what the changes might mean for their businesses. With so much money at stake, what are the most important communication considerations for financial services brands to share with current and future customers?

Clearly define what being a fiduciary means

At a baseline, firms should be striving to clearly define what exactly the role of a fiduciary is and what the benefits are to their customers. Trust, transparency, a complete absence of a conflict of interest, and always placing the interests of the investors first are all part of the conversation. Many customers aren’t aware that this wasn’t the standard in the investment industry, so education is necessary. For some firms who manage assets and offer planning services for a flat fee, the communication should be less complex. Essentially, many have already been following many of these investor protections for years and now this law will add additional provisions ensuring each investor’s best interests are always placed first. Other firms might face a seismic shift to their compensation structure—from a commission-based, transactional business model to one that is fee-based and focused on total volume of assets managed.  How will the rule change their advisory services and what needs to be relayed to existing clients? Communication is just one portion of their challenges. A complete reevaluation of how they will do business going forward and the ability to meet increased compliance regulations will come first. In fact, many firms have already begun adjusting or exiting the advisory business. MetLife recently sold their advisory business to MassMutual and experts expect more consolidation across the industry.

Rising standards, more risk

With the increase in standards and investor protections comes increased compliance, costs and liability. In fact most experts are still studying the 1,000-plus page rule; however it is already clear that investors now have more ability to sue. Communication will be more important than ever in evaluating every external client and customer interaction. Marketing must not only be compliant, but it needs to still be effective and consistent whether talking to a new potential customer considering a 401(k) rollover, or an existing client evaluating their financial plan and whether a certain investment supports their goals. Determining the right messages that differentiate the brand while resonating with each target audience will be more important than ever.

The investment industry is in the early stages of transformational change. Brokers and advisors are for the first time competing on a level playing field when it comes to standards for offering investment advice. Now that almost everyone is playing by the same rules, it’s imperative to have strong communications counsel to help navigate the changing landscape.

What opportunities and challenges does your financial brand face? Contact us here for an exploratory conversation.

How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fiduciary Rule Aftershock: Communication Considerations for Financial Services Brands

510965424Lost in the mainstream press was last week’s announcement from the Department of Labor issuing new protections for investors addressing conflicts of interest in retirement advice. What is widely known in the investment industry as the “Fiduciary Rule” has been met with much hand-wringing over the past several months by large financial institutions and for good reason. The final rule was released last Friday, and the new legislation expands the type of investment advice covered by fiduciary protections. Trillions of dollars are at stake. $14 trillion to be exact. Heading into 2016, Americans have more than $14 trillion saved in retirement accounts—that’s more than the combined gross domestic products of Germany and Japan! With just over $7 trillion in IRA retirement accounts and just under $7 trillion in defined contribution plans, $4.7 trillion of this in 401(k) plans, broker dealers, financial advisors, and asset management firms are assessing what the changes might mean for their businesses. With so much money at stake, what are the most important communication considerations for financial services brands to share with current and future customers?

Clearly define what being a fiduciary means

At a baseline, firms should be striving to clearly define what exactly the role of a fiduciary is and what the benefits are to their customers. Trust, transparency, a complete absence of a conflict of interest, and always placing the interests of the investors first are all part of the conversation. Many customers aren’t aware that this wasn’t the standard in the investment industry, so education is necessary. For some firms who manage assets and offer planning services for a flat fee, the communication should be less complex. Essentially, many have already been following many of these investor protections for years and now this law will add additional provisions ensuring each investor’s best interests are always placed first. Other firms might face a seismic shift to their compensation structure—from a commission-based, transactional business model to one that is fee-based and focused on total volume of assets managed.  How will the rule change their advisory services and what needs to be relayed to existing clients? Communication is just one portion of their challenges. A complete reevaluation of how they will do business going forward and the ability to meet increased compliance regulations will come first. In fact, many firms have already begun adjusting or exiting the advisory business. MetLife recently sold their advisory business to MassMutual and experts expect more consolidation across the industry.

Rising standards, more risk

With the increase in standards and investor protections comes increased compliance, costs and liability. In fact most experts are still studying the 1,000-plus page rule; however it is already clear that investors now have more ability to sue. Communication will be more important than ever in evaluating every external client and customer interaction. Marketing must not only be compliant, but it needs to still be effective and consistent whether talking to a new potential customer considering a 401(k) rollover, or an existing client evaluating their financial plan and whether a certain investment supports their goals. Determining the right messages that differentiate the brand while resonating with each target audience will be more important than ever.

The investment industry is in the early stages of transformational change. Brokers and advisors are for the first time competing on a level playing field when it comes to standards for offering investment advice. Now that almost everyone is playing by the same rules, it’s imperative to have strong communications counsel to help navigate the changing landscape.

What opportunities and challenges does your financial brand face? Contact us here for an exploratory conversation.

How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *