Great question! As we approach April 2017, when the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule is scheduled to take effect, we’re consistently asked, “Will I be required to take the Series 65 (or Series 66)?”
Unfortunately, the answer is not a cut and dry Yes or No.
The DOL rule is vast, complicated and vague [at its best!]. Without getting into the granular details that are discussed at length elsewhere, it is concerned with the fiduciary capacity of those providing advice on ERISA-regulated retirement accounts — including those inside and outside of the securities industry (registered representatives and investment adviser representatives as well as insurance agents). In seeking to update the definition of “investment advice fiduciary,” any individual who makes recommendations on retirement accounts is defined as a fiduciary. Undoubtedly, many more individuals will fall under the definition of a fiduciary when the rule goes into effect.
The fiduciary standard requires fiduciaries to put the clients’ best interests ahead of their own. The rule does not, however, specifically require fiduciaries to register in any particular way. More clarification on the ramifications will likely come to light when, or if, the rule goes into effect. It is significant to note that, although the rule speaks to “investment advice fiduciaries,” the terms “investment adviser” or “investment adviser representative” are not used (these are the titles used in the securities industry that require registration.)
We at FIRE Solutions do not believe the DOL rule speaks at all to a licensing/registration requirement for fiduciaries. We do believe, however, that many individuals/firms will look to protect themselves by registering themselves/their associated persons as either investment advisers or investment adviser representatives (IAs and IARs are already held to a fiduciary standard). This, of course, can be done in most states by taking and passing either the Series 65 or 66 exam and registering as an IA/IAR with either the SEC or the state(s) in which the adviser operates. Whether or not this registration is required, however, will likely be decided (at least initially) on a firm-by-firm basis. You should consult your firm’s licensing/registration department for guidance on your firm’s existing requirements, as well as any changes due to the proposed DOL rule.
Fire Solutions stands prepared to assist you with studying for and passing your NASAA exam. Our materials include new information covering the recent changes in the exam outlines. Our subject matter experts continually update our materials to reflect the current incarnation of the exams and are available to by email and phone to answer questions as you prepare to pass your exam.