The New Fiduciary Landscape

Professor Bullard will discuss the current state of play regarding the Department of Labor's fiduciary rulemaking. The rulemaking will transform financial services. Broker-dealers will be required to overhaul their compensation structures and provide an unprecedented level of disclosure. They will become fiduciaries as to Individual Retirement Account assets, which will have a material effect on their litigation risk. Fixed indexed annuities, not currently subject to securities regulation, will see a major change in their regulatory environment. Some products, such as non-traded REITS, may not survive the transition.

Investment advisers will also be affected by the rulemaking, but to a lesser degree. The rulemaking will subject advisers to a fiduciary standard that will not necessarily overlap with the fiduciary standard under the Investment Advisers Act. Advisers will have to eliminate or revise third-party compensation arrangements, such as fees for referrals volume based discounts on software. The greatest impact of the rulemaking on advisers may be indirect, in that it may substantially increase competition from broker-dealers in the fee-based advice space.

Learning Objectives
By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

  • Learn the mechanics and structure of the DOL rulemaking;
  • Understand the potential practical effects of the rulemaking on broker-dealers and investment advisers; and
  • Gain knowledge of the potential amendments to the rulemaking under the Trump Administration.
Mercer Bullard - Professor of Law, Director of the Business Law Institute - University of Mississippi School of Law

Mercer Bullard
Professor of Law, Director of the Business Law Institute
University of Mississippi School of Law
Mercer Bullard is the Butler Snow Lecturer and Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he is the Director of the Business law Institute and teaches courses on securities, banking, corporations, corporate finance, accounting and law and economics. He is also the Founder and President of Fund Democracy, an advocacy group for mutual fund shareholders. Professor Bullard has also served on the Investor Advisory Group of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, and the CFP Board’s Public Policy Committee, and was previously the consumer representative on the Financial Planning Association’s Government Relations Committee and Vice Chair of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Securities Law Committee.

Named by Investment News as one of the top 20 influencers in the financial services industry in 2009 and 2001, Professor Bullard has testified before Congress on more than 20 occasions on corporate and securities regulatory matters, including most recently the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rulemaking. He has published dozens of commentaries articles on a wide range of securities law topics, led advocacy initiatives relating to a variety of regulatory matters, made presentations before the SEC, FINRA, NASAA, FPA and other groups, and provided consulting and expert witness services for the SEC, various States and private plaintiffs and defendants. He has appeared on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, CNBC, and other national broadcasts; been featured in Business Week, Money Magazine and other publications; and been frequently quoted in major newspapers and financial publications on finance- and securities-related matters.

Professor Bullard is a former Assistant Chief Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. He previously practiced securities law in Washington, D.C. at WilmerHale (then Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering) and clerked for Judge Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He has a B.A. from Yale, an M.S. from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and is currently pursuing a finance PhD at the University of Mississippi.