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Guest Blog by Josh J. Chase CFP®, Financial Advisor, Lebel & Harriman, LLP, a Falmouth, Maine based financial planning firm with a 30-year track record offering expertise in retirement planning, insurance planning, and investment services.

The Department of Labor recently issued new regulations that directly affect retirement plans and the employers who sponsor them, including IRAs.

Lebel-Harriman logoMany employers who sponsor 401(k) plans are not aware that they have a Fiduciary obligation to manage the plan for the best interest of the participants. In other words, if you host a retirement plan and cannot demonstrate that the plan costs and options are reasonable, then your personal assets could be at risk should a dispute arise. That’s right—your personal assets!

These new DOL regulations focus primarily on the education and investment services being provided by your advisor or broker. Even if they have not recognized their role as a Fiduciary to your plan in the past, advisors and brokers will now be held to this Fiduciary standard. Further, the regulations require that all broker and/or advisory compensation must be reasonable and appropriate. Virtually no retirement plan transaction will be exempt from these new regulations.

Compliance Deadline

The deadline to be in compliance with the ruling has been extended to April 10, 2017 for most of the requirements, and to January 1, 2018 for the major provisions of the Best Interest Contract Exemption.

Questions? Concerns?

How prepared are you and your plan to answer questions such as:

  • What am I paying for fees, commissions, and so-called revenue sharing?
  • Are these amounts reasonable?
  • Are our plan governance, our investment policy statement, and our due-diligence process in sync with the regulations?
  • Is this process being followed regularly and consistently?

If you have questions or concerns about how these new regulations affect you, contact your advisor or feel free to contact me at 207-773-5390 (ext 108) or jchase@lebelharriman.com to discuss.

Securities offered through ValMark Securities, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC. Investment Advisory Services Offered Through ValMark Advisers, Inc. A SEC Registered Investment Advisor 130 Springside Drive Suite 300 Akron, Oh 44333-2431 Telephone: 800-765-5201. Lebel & Harriman, LLP is a separate entity from ValMark Securities, Inc. and ValMark Advisers, Inc.