About Stonefield

At Stonefield we specialize in fee-based money management, creative 401Ks plans for businesses, unique retirement distribution plans and so much more.

Licensed in multiple states Stonefield Investment Advisory has representatives near you, ready to take your portfolio to the next level, by actively managing your account to respond to current market conditions and your personal situation.

The New Department of Labor Ruling

The Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Duty Rule is a new ruling that has been delayed. Full implementation of all elements of the rule has been extended to July 1, 2019.

The Fiduciary Duty Rule expands the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). It automatically elevates all financial professionals who work with retirement plans, including advice, to the level of a fiduciary, bound legally and ethically to meet the standards of that status.

Stonefield Investment Advisory, Inc. has been a fiduciary since its inception. The Department of Labor’s definition of a fiduciary demands that advisers act in the best interests of their clients. Advisers are to put their clients' interests above their own. It leaves no room for advisers to conceal any potential conflict of interest. All fees and/or commissions must be clearly disclosed in dollar form to clients with this new ruling. Additionally, the definition has expanded to include any professional making a recommendation or solicitation — and not simply giving ongoing advice. Before this ruling, only advisers who were charging a fee for service (either hourly or as a percentage of account holdings) on retirement plans were considered fiduciaries.

A fiduciary is a much higher level of accountability than the suitability standard previously required of financial brokers, planners and insurance agents, who work with retirement plans and accounts. Under ERISA, the DOL regulates the quality of financial advice surrounding retirement. Originally under ERISA, "suitability" meant that as long as an investment recommendation met a client's defined need and objective, it was deemed acceptable. Now, under the Fiduciary Duty Rule, financial professionals are legally obligated to put their client’s best interests first rather than simply finding “suitable” investment products. Under this new ruling, many commissionable structures that govern the industry could be eliminated.

Those advisers who want to continue to work on commission will need to provide clients with a disclosure agreement titled the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE). In those circumstances where a conflict of interest could exist (such as, the adviser receiving a higher commission or special bonus for selling a certain product) the Client would be made aware of it within this document to guarantee that the adviser is working as a fiduciary. As a fiduciary, the adviser must clearly list all compensation that is paid to them within the BICE.

We at Stonefield have been operating as a fiduciary since 1998. Because we are an independent investment advisory firm, your best interest is our best interest - all fees are transparent - they always have been and always will be. As an independent Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) Firm, we are operating at the highest level of integrity and take great pride in doing things the right way.