Financial Engines has been a strong supporter of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed Conflict of Interest rule, which would require professionals who offer retirement investment advice to serve as fiduciaries to their clients—legally requiring them to put the best interest of their clients ahead of their own. In fact, we’ve been serving as a fiduciary for our clients since our founding 20 years ago.
With the DOL expected to issue its final version of the rule any day now, we surveyed more than 1,000 Americans to learn more about how important conflict-free investment advice is to them, as well as their understanding of the proposed rule. We found that while the general public may be unfamiliar with our industry jargon, they are overwhelmingly supportive of leveling the playing field and requiring financial advisors to work in their clients’ best interests.
Key findings from the survey, “In Whose Best Interest? What Americans know and what they want when it comes to retirement investment advice,” include:
- A majority of American adults (66%) say they do not know what a “fiduciary” is when it comes to financial advisors.
- Almost half (46%) of American adults mistakenly believe that all financial advisors are fiduciaries who are legally required to put the best interests of their clients first when it comes to retirement.
- Among adults who already work with a financial advisor, a large portion (41%) are not sure if their advisor is a fiduciary or not.
- 93% of Americans said it is important that all financial advisors be legally required to put their clients’ best interest first when providing advice on retirement savings.
- 77% of American adults said they would support requiring all financial advisors who provide advice on retirement assets to be legally required to put their clients’ best interest first.
While it’s still unclear how the rule will net out, it’s clear that people believe the underlying intent of the conflict of interest rule is important, and support the notion that financial advisors should be legally required to put their clients’ best interest ahead of their own.