The Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Standard for qualified retirement accounts poses enormous challenges for our industry, but it also represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way your business operates and the way you compensate your advisors to better serve the objectives of your host institution and the needs of your clients.

Kehrer Bielan is here to serve as your trusted partner in developing and executing the model that will carry your business into the future.

On this page you will find a catalogue of our firm’s initiatives around the DoL Rule, including our most recent research and thought leadership on the issue, and information on the customized solutions we can offer to your business. We will be adding to this page periodically so please check back frequently.


Research & Thought Leadership

Roundtable Discussions & Conference Calls

DoL Consulting Services

Due Diligence Under the DoL Rule



Research & Thought Leadership


Selling Fixed Reate Annuities under the DoL Rule

Global Atlantic commissioned Kehrer Bielan to take a deep dive into the data in the Product Menu and Pricing under the DoL Rule Survey to examine whether firms plan to offer fixed annuities in retirement accounts, the sales compensation they expect, and whether they will offer fixed annuities with different commission options or levels. Read more.


Product Menu and Pricing under the DoL Rule: Survey Summary

Bank broker dealers are examining their product offerings and how they are priced as they gear up to comply with the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Standard for retirement accounts.  To learn how their product menus will change, we asked bank and third party BDs whether they planned to offer different product menus for qualified and non-qualified accounts.  Find out what we learned from 17 bank broker dealers and 3 third party BDs, which collectively employ over 6,000 advisors. Read more. 


Selling Index Annuities under the DoL Rule

We recently completed a survey of how bank-owned and 3rd party broker dealers plan to adapt product menus under the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Standard for retirement accounts.  Twenty firms—encompassing over 6,000 advisors—participated. This report analyzes the future of index annuity sales in banks and credit unions based on the results of the product menus survey. Read more.


DoL Revenue Impact Calculator

We have heard from executives that manage investment services inside financial institutions that they expect revenue to decline in 2017 as a result of the disruptions caused by the implementation of the Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule. They have also told us they need help managing the expectations of bank management, who expect investment services revenue to grow.

That’s why we created the Kehrer Bielan DoL Revenue Impact Calculator, an interactive tool that models how your revenue picture will change after the Rule goes into effect in April, taking into account the reality of your business and adjusting for the actions you plan to take in 2017. Click here to read more.


The Leadership Challenge of the DoL Rule

During breakfast at the 2016 BISA CEO Retreat in Nashville, Tennessee, Peter Bielan spoke to industry leaders about how to best navigate through the change brought by the DoL Fiduciary Rule. Click here to read his remarks from the Retreat.


Designing an Advisor Compensation Plan Under the DoL Fiduciary Standard: The Effectiveness of Traditional Plan Features

This report will help to determine which of the components of the traditional Advisor compensation plan are worth fighting to keep when designing your post-DoL plan because they influence Advisor behavior in ways that align them with the objectives of the firm and the needs of clients. Kehrer Bielan has examined how the detailed elements of Advisor comp plans in 61 financial institutions impact Advisor productivity, acquisition of new assets, profitability, Advisor recruitment and retention, and other objectives of the firm. Read more.


Kehrer Bielan Study Group Identifies Top 10 Challenges of DoL Rule

The Kehrer Bielan study group of top executives who manage investment services in banks and credit unions identified the most pressing challenges they face in implementing the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Standard Rule. The cumulative impact of the changes driven by the Rule create the potential for transformation of the business as we have known it. Read more.


The New Importance of Financial Planning, Part 1: Who Has a Financial Plan?—Complimentary

Financial institutions have encouraged advisors to shift from a commission-for-transaction model to a model grounded in fees for asset management. Despite steady progress, advisory business still accounts for less than one quarter of industry revenue, and within most firms a small percentage of advisors are driving the majority of the business. And external forces such as the advent of “robo” advisors, and regulatory pressure will compress advisory fees. To overcome this challenge, firms will have to look to financial planning as a way to differentiate their advice. Banks and credit unions need a wakeup call to understand the urgency of the situation, and the broad advantages that financial planning offers.

Cetera Financial Institutions commissioned Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting to leverage consumer financial data from the MacroMonitor together with Kehrer Bielan’s proprietary database of performance benchmarking data to demonstrate the New Importance of Financial Planning. In Part One we describe the characteristics of the 15,000 US households that have a written financial plan obtained from a financial professional and compare them to the general population. Herein we explore their demographics, assets, institution and product usage, and their attitudes towards investing. Click here to receive your complimentary copy from Cetera.


The New Importance of Financial Planning, Part 2: Impact on Client Loyalty and Share of Wallet—Complimentary

Households that are attracted to financial planning tend to be wealthier, and be more open to a
range of investments instead of keeping their assets in savings accounts. But only 1 out of every
10 financial plans being used by US households today were prepared by a financial advisor
working in a bank or credit union. If households reward the individual or institution that
prepared their financial plan with increased loyalty and allocation of financial assets, banks and
credit unions are missing a huge opportunity.

Cetera Financial Institutions commissioned Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting to leverage
consumer financial data from the MacroMonitor together with Kehrer Bielan’s proprietary database of performance benchmarking data to demonstrate the New Importance of Financial Planning. In Part One, we described households that have a written financial plan in terms of their demographics, assets, channel and product usage, and their attitudes towards investing.
In Part Two we drill down further, controlling for where the household obtained the financial plan. By isolating those households that obtained their plan from a bank or credit union and examining their financial behavior, we demonstrate the broad advantages that financial planning offers those institutions. Click here to receive your complimentary copy from Cetera.


The New Importance of Financial Planning, Part 3: Impact on the Firm—Complimentary

Financial planning has the potential to dramatically reshape the way that financial services are delivered in banks and credit unions. But financial services firms will need to change the way they manage their Financial Advisors, and manage the expectations of their parent institution, in order to reap the full benefits.

This study analyzes the impact of the extent to which banks and credit unions have adopted financial planning, on Financial Advisor productivity in terms of both revenue and acquisition of new assets, and the firm’s penetration of its opportunity. We also explore whether, as Advisors incorporate financial planning into their practices, firms will need to adjust their target Advisor headcount. Finally, we identify those strategies that firms committed to a financial planning focus will need to embrace in order to be successful. Click here to receive your complimentary copy from Cetera.


Top Challenges Faced by TPMs Over the Years

The advisor's job is about to get harder, and some old dogs are going to have to learn new tricks in order to survive. Read more.



Roundtable Discussions & Conference Calls


DoL Readiness Roundtable: Mid Course Gut Check

December 13-14, 2016, Chapel Hill

You've spent the last six months digesting the DoL Fiduciary Standard, assessing alternative approaches to complying, and making some, but probably not all, of the decisions about the way forward. Now it is time to consider whether you are heading in the right direction. Read more. 


Impact of DoL Fiduciary Standard on Traditional Wealth Management Businesses

November 9-10, 2016

In one segment of the recent teleconference of the Kehrer Bielan Wealth Management Study Group, Peter Bielan commented on how the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Standard Rule will impact bank Trust and Asset Management activities.  Hear his comments and the subsequent discussion on the compensation of trust professionals and investment services advisors, and fees across the bank wealth management business lines.


The New Importance of Financial Planning and Life Insurance After DoL

September 29-30, 2016, Chapel Hill

The Department of Labor’s Rule on the Fiduciary Standard for retirement investments challenges the commission model and creates downward pressure on fees. How can a firm maintain its revenue and distinguish itself in an increasingly commoditized market for advice? Kehrer Bielan believes that the keys to success under the DoL Rule are to build your firm’s wealth management offering on a financial planning platform, and find ways, at last, to meet the life insurance needs of the institution’s customers. Read more.


How the DOL Ruling Will Impact Advisor Incentive Plans

A major focus at Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting is compensation plan enhancement. Because the DoL ruling on the Fiduciary Standard has a significant impact on how Advisors can be compensated, we offered an informational conference call immediately following the release of the ruling focused on the impacts to your business because of the rule. Our call covered Kehrer Bielan's interpretation of how the ruling will impact Advisor compensation and what changes to consider in your incentive plan to remain compliant. Read more.



DoL Consulting Services

Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting is uniquely qualified to help your firm chart a course for future growth while complying with the DoL Fiduciary Standard. Here are a few reasons why:

The most experience. Kehrer Bielan’s principals have over 90 years of combined experience working in and studying the bank brokerage industry. We have worked at every level of the enterprise, from being a financial advisor and sales manager on the front lines of the business, to managing some of the largest financial institution investment services businesses in the country. Our unbiased and decades-long study of the industry gives us unparalleled insight into the changes the new rule is likely to bring. We know your business, and we are ready to help today.

The best data. Kehrer Bielan’s annual surveys of performance and compensation have defined a generation of benchmarks used to evaluate investment services in financial institutions, and the depth and breadth of our data allows us to identify the key drivers of performance and best practices in compensation you need to manage your business effectively. As you recalibrate your business in the face of the new regulatory regime, you can learn from the performance and compensation data we have collected from over 60 financial institutions year after year after year.

The trusted authority. When we speak, the industry listens. Kehrer Bielan recently hosted two conference calls discussing the impact of the DoL Rule on advisor compensation and the bank brokerage industry more broadly. The calls were attended by more than 200 top executives from across the industry, including representatives from nearly every bank-owned broker dealer, dozens of regional and community banks and credit unions, all of the largest third party broker dealers (TPMs) and the major product and services providers. At the Spring Tune Up – our study group of top investment services executives – we identified the top decisions firms must make in the face of the DoL Rule, and initiated the process of parsing alternative responses.

Please contact one of our principals to learn more about all Kehrer Bielan can do to help you prepare for life under the DoL Rule.

Read more about our past consulting engagements.



Due Diligence Under the DoL Rule

Performing proper due diligence on your third party broker dealer partner and turnkey asset management providers (TAMPs) is now more important than ever before thanks to the DoL’s Fiduciary Standard Rule. The new requirements will impose additional staffing and financial burdens on your business. To ease these burdens, we have launched a service to conduct due diligence on third party broker dealers and TAMPS. We are providing standardized due diligence reports that are shared by many banks and credit unions, allowing you to fulfill your due diligence obligations less expensively and more efficiently, and be comfortable that you have a due diligence process and product that will pass muster with regulators. Read more.