CEO REPORT: Doing the Right Thing
I am writing this report on November 15th, the day Dad would have turned 84 years
old. James T. Petersen may have founded our company 53 years ago, but his focus
on putting the interests of our clients ahead of our own continues to be crystal clear
While Wall Street lobbyists fight to remove or dilute the protections investors have against investment firms lining company pockets at their clients’ expense, the Department of Labor (DOL) is standing tall with proposed rulemaking that would significantly reduce the practice of hiding high expenses and many of the conflicts of interest that sadly exist in our profession. Unfortunately, we are outliers within our profession by favoring the proposed rules. See the proposed rulemaking at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fsconflictsofinterest.html.
How can investors protect themselves from investment companies that do not put their client’s interests ahead of their own? First, ask the companies to put in writing that they will always act as your fiduciary, and that their services would comply with the DOL proposed Conflicts of Interest policy. In addition, request that they put in writing that they will manage non-retirement accounts in accordance with the DOL proposed rules. While the DOL is stepping up to the plate with their proposed rulemaking, the Securities and Exchange Committee has a more difficult process with needing both political parties to work together towards a solution. The DOL proposed rulemaking only covers retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s, and other corporate retirement plans). Taxable accounts are not included in the proposal, because they are beyond the scope of the DOL.
Petersen Hastings’ services not only meet the requirements of the new DOL proposed rulemaking, but they exceed them. This is easy for us because we take our role as our clients’ fiduciary very seriously. Examples include, performing a voluntary annual comprehensive onsite audit of our fiduciary services by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (https://www.cefex.org). In addition, each of our nine advisors are designated as an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF). You may learn more about this designation at http://www.fi360.com/center-for-fiduciary-studies.
Corporate retirement plan services continue to be an important business line for Petersen Hastings. Plan sponsors and trustees assume fiduciary responsibility, and they are held to the legal standards associated with that role. We strongly believe that being committed to the highest fiduciary standards will allow us to lead our corporate retirement plan clients to the best solutions possible, which benefit and protect participants, companies, and trustees.
We have witnessed companies struggling to navigate the request for proposal (RFP) process for their corporate retirement plans, because of the masterful job many financial companies do to conceal fees. Our fiduciary focus will help those companies in the future to navigate the RFP process and further meet their legal responsibilities. It is interesting to note that 68% of the 2014 PLANSPONSOR Advisers of the Year held the AIF designation. We firmly expect that percentage to increase as investors realize the importance of this role.
Petersen Hastings takes our role as a Fiduciary for our clients very seriously. While many organizations spend time trying to find ways to dilute this role, we elect to spend our time looking for ways to strengthen our role. We do this, because it is the right thing to do and it continues the legacy Dad created. Happy Birthday, Dad!
November 19th, 2015
By Jeff Petersen, CEO