Morningstar, American Retirement Association Partner on a New Fiduciary Adviser Standard
ARLINGTON, VA and CHICAGO, IL – Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, and the American Retirement Association (ARA), the nation’s premier advocacy and education association for retirement plan professionals and providers, have announced a partnership to develop a program that sets a new standard in fiduciary education and best practices.
The IRA Fiduciary Adviser education program is designed to prepare advisers for a continuously shifting regulatory environment. ”Regulations come, go and change all of the time,” noted 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 SEC and FINRA have both already signaled their intent to introduce additional fiduciary regulations. 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.”
The ARA’s IRA Fiduciary Adviser education modules will be integrated with Morningstar® Advisor WorkstationSM, 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 advisor and wealth management solutions, North America, said, “Responding to the final DOL regulations, Morningstar set out to deliver comprehensive enterprise solutions for broker dealers and advisory firms that are grappling with all of the open questions created by the DOL conflict of interest rule. In creating these solutions, Morningstar has enhanced our investment research coverage, analytic tools, developed new technologies, acquired new data sources and, integrated with fundamental fiduciary best practices that determine, demonstrate and document best interest, create the solid infrastructure for operating under a fiduciary standard of care. We are excited about extending these solutions to advisers, the broker-dealer community at large, and the public they serve with the American Retirement Association.”
The IRA Fiduciary Adviser education program, delivered through Morningstar Advisor Workstation, provides sophisticated tracking and reporting mechanisms to support broker-dealer and registered investment adviser compliance requirements. Developed in conjunction with a number of the nation’s leading fiduciary experts, ARA’s IRA Fiduciary Adviser program is balanced with a practical, utilitarian application of that knowledge. It brings 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 explained. “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.”
About Morningstar, Inc.
Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers, and retirement plan providers and sponsors. Morningstar provides data on more than 510,000 investment offerings, including stocks, mutual funds, and similar vehicles, along with real-time global market data on more than 17 million equities, indexes, futures, options, commodities, and precious metals, in addition to foreign exchange and Treasury markets.
Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with more than $180 billion in assets under advisement and management as of Dec. 31, 2015. The company has operations in 27 countries.
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