The Labor Department's fiduciary rule, set to take effect in April, may have negative consequences for Wall Street broker commissions. This comes after a key provision in the fiduciary rule that permits the use of commission-based retirement accounts has been deemed as too risky for the finance industry.
“There will be a natural slow death of commission-based brokerage business where advice is also being given,” said Bharat Sawhney, a managing director focused on wealth and investment management at consulting firm Gartland & Mellina Group. “I think a lot of firms will fall into the camp of trying to make commission accounts unattractive with higher minimums or less products available.” A shift away from commission-based accounts could be tricky and costly for retirement investors who prefer to buy and hold investments for long periods or favor building portfolios that consist of bonds. It also challenges the Labor Department’s stance that firms will use exemption provisions in its rule to offer retirement savers the option of using a commission-based account when appropriate.