The Department of Labor issued a temporary enforcement policy related to its fiduciary rule on Monday, in anticipation that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals would finalize its decision to vacate the rule. The department “will not pursue prohibited transactions claims against investment advice fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the impartial conduct standards for transactions that would have been exempted in the BIC Exemption and Principal Transactions Exemption, or treat such fiduciaries as violating the applicable prohibited transaction rules,” the Field Assistance Bulletin said. “Of course, investment advice fiduciaries may also choose to rely upon other available exemptions to the extent applicable after the Fifth Circuit’s decision, but the Department will not treat an advisor’s failure to rely upon such other exemptions as resulting in a violation of the prohibited transaction rules if the advisor meets the terms of this enforcement policy.” The DOL has until June 13 to take the case to the Supreme Court.
Charles Schwab plans to invest more in wealth technology and open up new office spaces in Austin and San Francisco for “Digital Accelerator teams,” the company announced. There will eventually be “hundreds of existing employees and new hires” as part of the effort, although the firm will be focused on finding the right office space through the third quarter of 2018. Both retail investors and advisors will be served by the new product development. “The Digital Services team at Schwab is focused on a range of innovations and improvements in the investing process,” said Neesha Hathi, executive vice president and chief digital officer at the firm. “In some cases we’re exploring completely new ways for people to invest and manage their wealth, and in other cases we’ll aim to modernize the more mundane pain points that negatively impact the investor experience in our industry today—things like the account-open process.”
SS&C Technologies Holdings, which provides financial software and services, said Monday that its Black Diamond wealth management platform rolled out a new version of its client portal. The latest iteration, called Investor Experience, enables advisors to offer a personalized, custom-branded and interactive platform to clients. Like others, it will be available any time and from any device. Many wealth management platforms are rolling out more robust client portals, as clients become increasingly comfortable and interested in interacting with their advisor through digital channels. Black Diamond also unveiled a new logo with the announcement.