Where Does the DOL Fiduciary Rule Stand Today?

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Apr 03, 2017

The Department of Labor (DOL) published the fiduciary rule for retirement accounts on April 8, 2016 and made it applicable as of April 10, 2017. However, on February 3, 2017, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the DOL to review the rule.

The memorandum directed the DOL to determine whether the rule may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice, including: access to certain retirement savings offerings, retirement product structure, retirement savings information, or related financial advice; whether the fiduciary rule has resulted in dislocations or disruptions with the retirement services industry that may adversely affect investors or retirees; and whether the fiduciary rule is likely to cause an increase in litigation, and an increase in the prices that investors and retirees must pay to gain access to retirement services. If the DOL determines any of the considerations noted above to be true, or if the rule is inconsistent with President Trump’s stated priorities to “empower Americans to make their own financial decisions, to facilitate their ability to save for retirement and building the individual wealth necessary to afford typical life time expenses, such as buying a home and paying for college, and to withstand unexpected financial emergencies”, then the DOL is to publish a proposed rule rescinding or revising the Rule.

On March 3, 2017, the DOL issued proposed rule, calling for a 60-day delay of the April 10 applicability date – to June 9, 2017. Comments on the proposed delay can be made until April 17, 2017 on the issued raised in the Trump Presidential Memo, described above. Since this comment period is beyond the initial applicability date, the DOL issued a field advisory bulletin indicating the department would not be enforcing the rule in the interim.