HR Alert

President Trump Orders Review of Fiduciary Rule

DOL to Consider Delaying the Rule's Applicability

President Trump has issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Labor to examine the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Fiduciary Rule to determine whether the rule may adversely affect individuals' abilities to gain access to retirement information and financial advice. In response to the memorandum, the DOL has stated that the agency will now consider delaying the applicability date of the rule.

Background

On April 8, 2016, the DOL released a final rule ("Fiduciary Rule") expanding the number of persons that are subject to fiduciary standards when they provide retirement investment advice, including exemptions that would allow advisers to continue to receive payments that could create conflicts of interest if certain conditions are met.

Review of Fiduciary Rule

The memorandum directs the Secretary of Labor ("Secretary") to prepare an updated economic and legal analysis concerning the impact of the Fiduciary Rule. Such analysis is expected to address the following topics:

  • Whether the anticipated applicability of the Fiduciary Rule has harmed or is likely to harm investors due to a reduction of individuals' access to certain retirement savings offerings, retirement product structures, retirement savings information, or related financial advice;
  • Whether the anticipated applicability of the Fiduciary Rule has resulted in dislocations or disruptions within 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 Secretary makes an affirmative determination as to any of these considerations (or if the Secretary concludes for any other reason that the Fiduciary Rule is inconsistent with the priorities identified in the memorandum), the Secretary is expected to publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the Fiduciary Rule.

In response to the memorandum, the DOL has stated that the agency "will now consider its legal options to delay the applicability date as we comply with the President's memorandum." Until further guidance is issued, however, the rule is set to become applicable on April 10, 2017.


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