Are Your Investments in Good Hands?

    Originally posted on October 31, 2016

    In today’s political and economic environment, change is a constant. This year alone, we’ve seen remarkable market volatility and unprecedented political events, like the United Kingdom’s surprising vote to leave the European Union. Plus, we’re on the cusp of an entirely new White House administration. About the only thing we can count on is that things are going to be different—possibly very different—and soon. Our world will keep evolving and requiring us to adapt.

    For financial services professionals, adaptability is now more important than ever. Our industry is under substantial flux with new technologies entering the landscape, changing the way we do business, and a marked shift in regulatory oversight.

    You may have heard rumblings about a rule released by the Department of Labor (DOL) in April, which we call “the fiduciary rule.” Essentially, it requires individuals giving investment advice to retirement accounts to act in their clients’ best interests. While this sounds simple on the surface, it involves a lot of complexity. We are working to develop new solutions and opportunities that are designed to fit the needs of retirement investors, and I’m personally excited about the innovation happening in financial services right now. Is your advisor?

    Getting a gauge of your advisor’s attitude about the DOL fiduciary rule can tell you a lot about his or her approach to serving you. Here are some questions to ask and things to listen for:

    “Can you explain the DOL fiduciary rule to me?” — Listen for positive language and optimism about the future of advice for retirement investors. You may want to be wary of any financial professional who dismisses the rule as insignificant because it will have far-reaching impacts on the way we deliver advice. This could be indicative of a lack of information or preparation.

    “How will the rule affect my account?” — Even if your advisor doesn’t have explicit details yet, you’ll be looking to hear some reassurance that they’re getting ready to act in your best interests and that they’re working on the back end to determine the full impact of the rule.

    “What resources do you have supporting you?” — Complying with the rule is a complex task, so it’s important your advisor has access to support and resources to help with the heavy lifting. For example, LPL Financial provides educational resources and support infrastructure to help me.

    Times of change often reveal people’s true colors. If you’re looking for an advisor who can assist you in this time of change, give me a call.

    Michael L. Stone, AAMS, PPC
    551 Newnan Street
    Carrollton, GA  30117

    770-830-0063