Morningstar Partners with ARA on Fiduciary Standards Program

The partnership is aimed at developing a program that “sets a new standard in fiduciary education and best practices.”

The IRA Fiduciary Adviser education program, being rolled out in partnership by Morningstar and the American Retirement Association (ARA), is designed to prepare advisers for a continuously shifting regulatory environment

“Regulations come, go and change all of the time,” says Brian Graff, CEO of the American Retirement Association.  “While there has been an enormous focus on complying with the Labor Department’s new fiduciary regulation, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have both already signaled their intent to introduce additional fiduciary regulations.”

As such, Morningstar and ARA warn the professional adviser of the future “must build his or her practice on proven fiduciary adviser best practices that look beyond today’s requirements and that’s what our IRA Fiduciary Adviser program will provide.”

Specifically, the ARA’s IRA Fiduciary Adviser education modules will be integrated with Morningstar Advisor Workstation, “providing not only an immediate access point to fiduciary adviser education but a connection between education and the tools required for the practical application of fiduciary adviser best practices.” 

Jeff Schwantz, Morningstar’s head of adviser and wealth management solutions, North America, explains that responding to the final DOL regulations requires comprehensive enterprise solutions for broker/dealers and advisory firms that are grappling with all of the open questions created by the conflict of interest rulemaking.

The IRA Fiduciary Adviser takes a “practical, utilitarian” approach to fiduciary best practice education, “bringing together a half-century of expertise educating and working with retirement plan professionals and regulatory agencies with a platform that encompasses the latest thinking in professional education delivery.”

“Advisers who work with retirement accounts, particularly IRAs, will need to conform with a higher, and for some dramatically, higher standard of care, but that’s only the beginning,” Graff concludes. “More than education, this program sets a new standard for fiduciary practices that goes beyond the mere letter of the law, elevating advisory practices to an entirely new level of excellence. The right training for advisers will produce the right outcomes for investors. The adviser of the future needs to be ready now, and we are pleased to partner with Morningstar to bring this capability to market at this critical time.”

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