The financial services industry needs to accept the reality of the Department of Labor's fiduciary proposal and move onto figuring out how to live with it, advisors and industry trade associations said in candid comments at Pershing's INSITE 2015 conference on Thursday.
“I’m really concerned,” said Sheri Ferguson of Florida-based Csenge Advisory Group during in a regulatory-themed session at the Orlando conference. “I think we’ve lost the conversation because we’ve lost the publicity war. If you [industry groups] don’t change the direction of this conversation, we’re going to talk ourselves out of business."
David Bellaire,general counsel and executive vice president of public policy and advocacy for the Financial Services Institute, understands that. While he continues to work with FSI and other industry groups on stopping the proposal, the truth is that President Barack Obama has come out in support of it and there's little turning back.
“The game has changed,” Bellaire said. “The president has offered his support. He doesn’t have to run for re-election and he doesn’t care what we think about him. Wall Street is not his friend and, frankly, the American public sees it as a punching bag it wants to hit repeatedly.”
Bellaire stressed that the industry needs to deal with the situation as it exists. “This is on a freight train heading toward implementation and it’s important for the industry to united and forget about what it should look like, what it should be and talk about what is possible,” he said.