While the Department of Labor’s fiduciary ruling is not any sort of death knell (unless, perhaps, you’ve been peddling some seriously toxic investment products), you might think it was, given last week’s glut of headlines in the financial press. I’ve seen all five of Kübler-Ross’ famed stages of grief on exhibit: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, ultimately, acceptance.
I have experienced these myself. For some time, I doubted that the DOL would ever achieve a ruling. When they actually did, I was angered by some of the last-minute holes that were blown into what could otherwise have been a more solid fiduciary stronghold. While I am in no position to bargain with the DOL, I debated with myself, mulling over shifting moods on whether the ruling was a good or bad thing for investors.
In the end, I have accepted that we should think of the ruling as a modest victory for investors and that, by and large, you should communicate it as such to your community.