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The Wagner Law Group

The Wagner Law Group is a nationally recognized practice in the areas of ERISA and employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor and human resources and investment management.


Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group is dedicated to the highest standards of integrity, excellence and thought leadership and is considered to be amongst the nation's premier ERISA and employee benefits law firms. The firm has seven offices across the country, providing unparalleled legal advice to its clients, including large, small and nonprofit corporations as well as individuals and government entities worldwide. The Wagner Law Group's 32 attorneys, senior benefits consultant and five paralegals combine many years of experience in their fields of practice with a variety of backgrounds. Eight of the attorneys are AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and seven are Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, an invitation-only organization of nationally recognized employee benefits lawyers.  Five of the firm's attorneys have been named to the prestigious Super Lawyers list for 2017, which highlights outstanding lawyers based on a rigorous selection process.







Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group


  Integrity | Excellence



Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110


Washington, D.C.

Tel: (202) 969-2800


Fax: (202) 969-2568

 800 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.

Suite 810

Washington, D.C. 20006



Tel: (847) 990-9034

Fax: (847) 557-1312

190 South LaSalle Street

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Chicago, IL 60603



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Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
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Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418



Tel: (813) 603-2959

Fax: (813) 603-2961

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Tampa, FL  33602 


San Francisco

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

300 Montgomery Street

Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94104


St. Louis

Tel: (314) 236-0065

Fax: (314) 236-5743
25 W. Moody Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63119 







 February 16, 2018 


Investment Management

Law Alert


Massachusetts Securities Division


Files Suit to Enforce Fiduciary Rule





In a recent Alert, we discussed how several states are charting their own course while the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") proceeds with its review of the Fiduciary Rule, the Best Interest Contract Exemption ("BICE") and other related exemptions. Yesterday, Massachusetts filed suit against a broker-dealer firm for violations of the Fiduciary Rule.


The Massachusetts Securities Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth ("Division") filed an  administrative complaint against Scottrade, Inc. ("Scottrade") for violations of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 110A, Section 204 of the Massachusetts Uniform Securities Act ("Act") and the regulations promulgated thereunder.


According to the Division, Scottrade adopted policies and procedures designed to comply with the Fiduciary Rule and related prohibited transaction exemptions. These policies said Scottrade would not use contests (and other incentives) that would cause its associates to make recommendations that are not in the interest of retirement accounts. Nevertheless, Scottrade allegedly launched two sales contests, the objectives of which were to generate new assets, including retirement assets, and offered cash prizes, that the Division asserts were in violation of its recently-adopted policy.


The Division noted that under the DOL's temporary enforcement policy, the DOL would not pursue claims against investment advice fiduciaries who were working diligently and in good faith to comply with the Fiduciary Rule and the BICE. The Division asserts that Scottrade "knowingly violated its own internal policies related to the Fiduciary Rule" and that this constituted "a clear demonstration that Scottrade has failed to act in good faith to comply with the Fiduciary Rule."


The Fiduciary Rule became applicable on June 9, 2017. Until July 1, 2019, the "impartial conduct standards" (which we have described in a prior Alert) are the sole conditions of the BICE and the related exemptions.


The Division's complaint raises numerous issues, most notably, what the role of state agencies is or should be in enforcing ERISA and DOL rules. William F. Galvin, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is a strong supporter of the Fiduciary Rule. We will monitor this case as it develops.



Please contact Stephen Wilkes, swilkes@wagnerlawgroup.com,  Livia Aber, laber@wagnerlawgroup.com, or David Pickle, dpickle@wagnerlawgroup.com, if you have any questions.




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This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.