As expected, the DOL has delayed the effectiveness of the new Fiduciary rule and the corresponding Prohibited Transaction exemption guidance. The DOL published official notice of a 60-day delay within yesterday’s Federal Register. As a result, the applicability date is delayed from April 10, 2017, until (at least) June 9, 2017.
Early last month, we explained that the approval of the delay was essentially a formality. The delay clears the way for further exploration of the rule’s potential impact. Purportedly, the new administration is concerned with its impact on the small investor. In practice, though, it is more apparent that the concern is the bottom line of those brokers and advisors who prefer to operate without clear limitations on their conflicts of interest.
What does this really mean for plan sponsors and investors? It means that the importance of having a fiduciary will continue to draw more attention. The difference between a non-fiduciary and fiduciary’s standards of conduct will become more apparent. And hopefully, at the end of the day, more American investors will be working with a professional comfortable with a fiduciary standard – without regard to the degree to which it is required by a regulation. As we end most posts on the fiduciary rule, stay tuned.
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