“In one fell swoop, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dropped the hammer on the DOL Fiduciary Rule, tossing out the expanded scope of fiduciary ‘investment advice’ and the related exemptions, including the Best Interest Contract Exemption.”
With that, law firm giant Stradley Ronon announced the formation of its fiduciary governance group, “a multi-disciplinary practice.”
Led by co-chairs Lawrence Stadulis and George Michael Gerstein, the fiduciary governance group has 15 members. It includes notables like David Grim, most recently Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Investment Management, and Sara Crovitz, its Deputy Chief Counsel and Associate Director.
“Rules and regulations on whether one owes a fiduciary duty to their client, and if so, what those fiduciary duties entail, are constantly evolving at the federal and state levels, resulting in overlapping and disparate compliance requirements,” the firm notes. “Financial institutions may be subject to multiple and conflicting sets of fiduciary or best interest obligations arising under federal and state law as a result of the nature of the different yet interrelated services they provide to their customers.”
The fiduciary governance group is designed to counsel investment committees and intermediaries, such as investment advisers, banks, broker-dealers, retirement plan/IRA service providers, insurance providers and mutual fund directors, by identifying and making sense of this regulatory patchwork and helping clients understand the interplay of these federal and state rules.
“The fiduciary governance group leverages its technical understanding of federal and state fiduciary rules to advise clients across regulatory schemes. The group seeks to help clients scale compliance programs under a particular regulatory regime to comply with other applicable fiduciary rules and requirements.”
Moreover, it notes, the fiduciary governance group “keeps clients ahead of the curve by identifying important developments and emerging trends in the fiduciary landscape, such as environmental, social & governance (ESG) investing, through webinars, written alerts, and, its new blog, fiduciarygovernanceblog.com.”
It also actively tracks the burgeoning state legislative efforts to impose fiduciary or comparable investment advice standards of care.