The DOL Fiduciary Rule: What You Need to Know

30 years ago, Kowal Investment Group was founded on the principle that the client always comes first. Since its inception, Kowal Investment Group has acted under a fiduciary standard of care, elevating our client’s needs before our own. Our firm is governed by strong values of respect, honesty and communication, which serve as the foundation for the success of our team and our clients. Because of our true client-focused philosophy, our clients can turn to us with confidence to help find the options best suited for their needs to help secure the financial future they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Following are answers to questions that you may have with the implementation of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) latest Fiduciary rule. This information is designed to help you understand the rule, and find reassurance that Kowal Investment Group has always operated under a fiduciary standard of care.

What is the Fiduciary Rule?

On June 9, the DOL will put into effect the “Fiduciary Rule,” which requires investment advisors to act as fiduciaries, or in the best interest of their clients. This means that all advisors must make recommendations by putting their client’s goals ahead of their own. Believe it or not, not all advisors today operate as fiduciaries. While this rule has impact on all advisors, it is expected that those who work on commission will be impacted the most. This rule states that all fees and commissions must be clearly disclosed in dollar form to clients, ultimately putting an end to hidden fees and conflicts of interest in the investment market. While many aspects of the rule will take effect on June 9, the DOL will continue its review of the regulation until the final implementation date, currently scheduled for January 1, 2018.

How Does This Affect Investors?

As someone who has proactively invested in their retirement, you’re likely to be impacted in some way. But for many, the impact is positive. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Wisconsin investors lose a total of $449 million annually due to conflicted or self-serving advice from advisors.  This change puts consumer protections in place for retirement assets – and protects against advisors working for commissions that benefit them, not you. Ultimately, the Fiduciary Rule will have an impact on those who invest in 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions or are looking for recommendations on plan distributions and IRA rollovers. Overall, it’s designed to help protect your hard-earned dollars that you’ve invested into retirement accounts so the funds are there when you need them.

How Do I Know Who to Trust?

With an ever-increasing number of investment advisors promising that they can help you plan for retirement, it’s often difficult to know who to believe. You need a partner you can trust to help navigate the ins and outs of retirement planning. Some financial advisors are just now implementing a fiduciary standard of care because of the new rule. But, at Kowal Investment Group we’ve always operated under a fiduciary standard of care, providing a fee-based structure and maintaining personal relationships with our clients to provide the capabilities, resources and team you need to help reach your goals.

We take a fee-based, personalized approach to our relationships, spending time to get to know our clients personally before becoming their advisors. Our team has been instrumental in shaping the post-work retirement picture for thousands of families in southeastern Wisconsin.

It is important to note that while the rule might change some aspects of how we work together, we will continue to put your needs first, and we remain committed to supporting your financial future through sound, tailored advice. As always, our focus remains on selecting investments that we believe will give you the best chance of meeting your goals and strengthening your long-term financial plan.

We have been monitoring policy updates closely and are committed to complying with the rule while preserving as much flexibility as possible for your investment selection. We’ll let you know if and when you need to take action and will guide you through any changes.

Should you have any questions about your financial plan or the recent DOL changes, please feel free to call us at 262-522-4040.

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