DOL Proposes Delay of Fiduciary Rule

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After six years of planning and intense effort, which included solicitations of input from the industry and investor advocates, the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Conflicts of Interest rule was released in April 2016 (the “Final Rule”).  Among other things, the Final Rule required all “advisers” (i.e., individuals or entities who are representatives of a registered investment adviser, bank or similar financial institution, insurance company, or broker-dealer) providing advice regarding retirement accounts act in the best interest of their clients.  Advisers were given until April 10, 2017 to implement the changes required by the Final Rule.

Seven months after the rule’s released, Donald Trump was elected as the next president of the United States.  Shortly after taking office in 2017, the new president directed the DOL to review the rule in a February 3rd memo.  The DOL was asked to determine if the rule would limit investors’ access to investment products or advice, cause disruptions in the industry, and increase litigation against financial firms.  Should the DOL find that the rule would cause harm, the agency would then determine whether or not it should modify or repeal the rule.

In light of the president’s memo, the DOL is proposing a rule delay of 60-days.  This proposal, which is a new rule in itself, includes a 15-day public comment period ending on March 17, 2017.  The extension would make it possible for the DOL to complete its examination, implement any necessary additional extensions, and propose and implement a revocation or revision of the rule before the rule became applicable.

According to the DOL proposal, the delay would also spare investors, advisers and other stakeholders from the risk and expenses of two major changes in the regulatory environment, thereby saving the industry and others approximately $38 million in compliance costs.

For more information on the DOL rule and the new proposed rule delay, as well as how to navigate the current uncertainties facing the financial industry, please contact Jacko Law Group, PC at (619) 298-2880, or email info@jackolg.com.  Thank you.

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