LPL Financial has opened an office in Washington, D.C., for its government relations team to advocate on issues related to the financial services industry. The team regularly engages with legislators, regulators and trade associations, but always did so from afar. Having a local base of operations will increase the team's collaboration on regulatory issues as well as be more efficient and convenient, the company said. "As a leader in our industry, LPL has a responsibility to ensure the voices of our advisors and investors are heard and to advocate for policies that support the best interests of investors," said David Bergers, LPL general counsel and managing director of legal and government relations. The office is located at 700 12th St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C.
Fidelity Expands Commission-Free ETF Offerings
Fidelity’s clearing and custody unit has expanded the number of commission-free ETFs available to broker/dealer clients, adding 70 iShares ETFs to its platform. This is in addition to the 15 Fidelity-managed commission-free ETFs that the firm already offers, which include 11 passive sector ETFs, three active fixed income ETFs and the Fidelity Nasdaq Composite Index ETFs. Fidelity now claims to have the most comprehensive commission-free ETF program for broker/dealers. In January, Schwab announced it added 14 commission-free ETFs to its OneSource ETF program, which now gives individual investors and advisors custodied with Schwab access to 226 ETFs with no commissions.
IRS Beefs Up Protections for Online Taxpayers
The Internal Revenue Service today launched its new and improved e-authentication service for online taxpayers. After the embarrassing and potentially damaging data breaches of the past several years, caused primarily by security holes in the IRS’ “Get Transcript” service, which allowed thieves to impersonate taxpayers and access return information, the IRS believes this new, more rigorous, multi-factor process will significantly increase protection against identity theft. To access the new Get Transcript Online feature, taxpayers must have an email address, a text-enabled mobile phone and specific financial account information, such as a credit card number or certain loan numbers. Taxpayers who registered using the older process will need to re-register and strengthen their authentication in order to access the tool.