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March 27, 2018

Are your best interests being addressed?

As a NYSUT member, you are eligible to receive advice from a certified financial planner who accepts designation as a fiduciary (a legal obligation putting your best interests above their own) through the NYSUT Member Benefits Corporation-endorsed Financial Counseling Program.

You may not realize that a ruling made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on March 15, 2018 removes the obligation that many financial or retirement advisors act as a fiduciary. Unfortunately, this ruling represented a return to the status quo that had existed prior to the 2016 Fiduciary Rule, which was instituted by the U.S. Department of Labor under the Obama administration.

That rule required that advice given by advisors to individuals in ERISA-covered retirement plans meet a higher standard known as the fiduciary standard (putting the client's best interests first) as opposed to just being suitable. While this rule may not be applied to the 403(b) accounts in the K-12 arena, there had been hope that many financial institutions would be changing their business practices to adhere to this rule for all clients. Now, that may not be the case.

However, your NYSUT membership allows you to participate (for an annual fee) in a program designed to address your financial concerns and develop a plan to help you meet your specific financial goals; more importantly, these planners do not sell any commissionable products. There are two types of services available: the Full-Service Program and the 403(b) Advisor Option.

Click here to learn more about our endorsed Financial Counseling Program.