While many financial advisory firms have hunkered down, unwilling to talk about the impact of the disruptive Labor Department fiduciary rule, the wirehouses have sought to reassure their shareholders that the sky is not about to fall.
Bank of America Corp.s chief financial officer, Paul Donofrio, said during an earnings call last month that the Department of Labors new rule will affect less than 10% of the $2 trillion in assets at its wealth management business. During Morgan Stanleys first-quarter earnings call, CEO James Gorman said of the DOL rule, its not the be-all and end-all for the banks brokerage business.
The wirehouses have good reason to minimize the impact of the rule, which requires financial advisers to put their clients interests ahead of their own when giving retirement advice. In the final version, the Labor Department threw the big broker-dealers a bone by allowing them to continue selling proprietary investment products in the retirement market.