After years of talk and debate, the fiduciary rule is here and many banks are still not prepared.

Indeed, many banks have continued their wait-and-see mind-set even now that the rule has been announced. That's the takeaway from a survey conducted by research and consulting firm Stathis Partners.

The banking channel must be more proactive in staying ahead of the curve or we will be caught flat-footed and many firms will experience significant consequences, especially as they face competitors who are more prepared, according to the announcement of Stathis Partners' survey (Full disclosure: Bank Investment Consultant and Stathis Partners are co-hosting a series of events.) 

In order to gauge the fiduciary preparedness of the bank and credit union channel, as well as their product provider partners, the survey asked industry executives to quantify two main themes: how big an impact the rule will have, and how prepared their firms are. 

There is no shortage of acknowledgement that the DoL fiduciary rule will have a major effect. The study, sponsored by Red Rock Strategic Partners, found that 73% of industry executives believe it will be either very or extremely disruptive to the channel. Contrasted to that is a high level of inaction. Indeed, 63% of the executives polled are taking a “wait and see” approach and, at most, have a set of contingency plans being considered.

This stands in contrast to the larger players in the industry who have already taken action, according to a corresponding Power Point presentation prepared by Stathis Partners. The other advisory channels have taken such action as sending reports to their advisors on existing IRA accounts subject to commissions with guidance on how to transition, holding fiduciary education sessions for advisors, moving some clients to online and call-center solutions, and prepping to send necessary electronic disclosures to appropriate clients.