The much-discussed fiduciary rule was, among other things, an unintended gift from the Department of Labor to advisers, particularly those who focus on income-distribution planning.

There are several reasons for this fortuitous silver lining. Chief among them is the fact that retirement income is one area where advisers can most easily demonstrate a clear distinction between themselves and traditional, accumulation-focused advisers. This is not to say that “accumulation focused” advisers don’t build portfolios with retirement income in mind. They frequently do. But I’m referring to transitioning one’s practice to the still niche market of outcome-focused income planning. Why? Because this is the ideal market to commit to if you wish to sidestep the inevitable commoditization of advice and products that the DoL brings forth. You should be concerned about this.

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