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After six months, 20,000 public comments, and threats of a lawsuit, the Department of Labor has issued a final rule updating fiduciary status for retirement advisors.

Although the regulation is fundamentally similar to the initial proposal, officials say they made some small but significant changes in response to public comments.

Supporters of the rule argue that it closes a regulatory loophole that has enabled financial professionals to make conflicted recommendations regarding retirement investments, even if they are generally held to a standard like Reg BI.

“The most obvious change in the day-to-day advice context is that the fiduciary umbrella will now extend to cover more types of advice provided by financial professionals,” said Matthew Eickman, national retirement practice leader at Qualified Plan Advisors, a retirement plan consultancy. “In the past, it’s been too easy to find a way to escape the fiduciary umbrella.”

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