At the beginning of this week the U.S. Dept. of Labor announced that it would not seek to further delay the effective date of the oft talked about new fiduciary rule. A few days later there was an article on planadviser.com with a headline that read "Industry Groups Slam Trump, Acosta for DOL Fiduciary Rule Flop." The article referenced a few different responses from organizations that represent the advisory industry that went on to express some version of the same sentiment, while they support a "best interest standard" they are still disappointed in the fact that there will not be yet another delay in the first implementation date of June, 9th.
The morning after the news broke, I was sitting in a large conference room in Nashville with quite a few other advisers. When the first speaker of the morning began his remarks he mentioned the announcement that there would be no further delays and the reaction was quite a bit different...there was a round of applause. The difference probably lies in the fact that the conference I was attending was being put on by Fi360, an organization with fiduciary literally in their title. For the most part, all of the advisers in that room were retirement plan advisers who had already taken on the higher level standard of "fiduciary" long before there was any sort of rule saying that they had to.
Now, like with almost anything, the devil of the new rule might be in the details and there could be things that pose problems down the road, maybe problems that might not even be evident to us until we get a few miles down this new road. However, after the applause had died down and the speaker went on with the rest of his introduction a question lingered with me: if you are a plan sponsor that oversees a retirement plan and there are this many advisers out there willing and able to work with you in a fiduciary capacity, why would you ever choose one that can't or won't?
On a different note: when I first mentioned our blog I told you that it'd be mostly industry related but that every once in awhile I might mention something a little different, specifically music if it was a post of mine. I have never, or will ever, claim to be qualified as any sort of critic so I won't try to play one here. I'll never talk about anything I dislike because, other than a very subjective and unscientific "I don't like the way it sounds," I'd never have a good reason to point to as to why. So instead, if I mention something here it's because the song/artist/album is something I really like.
With that out of the way, as I sit here on the Friday before a long, Memorial Day Weekend, I'm hoping for lots of nice weather and an opportunity to listen quite a few times to Kids in the Street, the new album from Justin Townes Earle. For some people (if anyone actually even reads this) the name might already be familiar or, if you are like a lot of folks, the name might seem familiar but you can't figure out exactly why. Even though he's got a handful of albums already under his belt, Earle's father (Steve Earle) and namesake (Townes Van Zandt) are arguably still more well known than he is but that may not be the case for too long. When it comes to music I like, I usually struggle with trying to pin down genres so if someone told me they thought this album was any of the following; country, folk, americana, soul, I'd be hard pressed to really put up an argument. So although I'd have a problem saying exactly what it might be, the first thing I'd say to someone asking why I like it so much would be easy: songwriting. If your father is considered a great songwriter and you are named after Van Zandt, you better be able write a good line or two and I think Justin manages to live up to both of those standards with this new release.
Opinions expressed are those of Matthew Callan and not necessarily those of Raymond James.