On Friday, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued its second set of FAQs relating to the new fiduciary rule scheduled to become effective, in large part, on April 10th, 2017. Without attempting to summarize each of the 30 questions and answers, we wanted to address four key takeaways.
First, the current DOL is continuing to operate as if the new fiduciary rule will go into effect as planned. We’ve already written about the significant amount of uncertainty relating to existing laws and regulations already in effect, let alone those scheduled to become effective soon. Until and unless the DOL hears otherwise, and the President-Elect’s Twitter account has not yet taken aim at the fiduciary regulation, it’s continuing to provide interpretive guidance.
Second, this set shifts the focus from financial professionals to investors/consumers. The previous set was intended to help financial professionals understand how to interpret various aspects of the guidance, while the new set is intended to help individual investors better understand the underlying purposes and intended outcomes.
Third, the DOL continues to emphasize why the new guidance was necessary. In short, it sees and is worried about the rampant conflicts of interest presented by working with a non-fiduciary. Those concerns will continue to exist – and may even be stronger – if the rule is abandoned or materially changed.
Fourth, the FAQs include an Appendix with 10 questions an investor should ask his or her adviser. Many of these questions exist in previous DOL guidance, but the Appendix will likely serve as a one-stop-shop for important questions to pose in the future.
Matt Eickman

Matt Eickman

Full Bio

Matthew loves to write. He also loves to think, though he’s probably a better writer than a thinker. He does not like to be on camera or in videos. This blog will allow him to write, challenge his ability to think, and, from time to time, test him with video blog entries.

He has a unique blend of legal and practical experience that helps us to serve our clients well. On the one hand, he has more than 12 years of private legal practice experience focusing exclusively on employee benefits, including time as a partner in an employee benefits boutique where he has represented clients in front of the DOL and IRS. On the other hand, he holds his FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations and serves as the Director of ERISA Services for Qualified Plan Advisors.

Matthew likes to stay active. He provides fiduciary training, Investment Policy Statement design, and vendor oversight to our clients. He is an active member of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section, serving as Chair of the Defined Contribution Plans Subcommittee. He also has been appointed to the IRS TE/GE Gulf States Council and is a frequent speaker on regulatory developments, fiduciary responsibilities, and retirement readiness.

Most importantly, he stays active with his family. His wife, Laura, is the founder of REbeL, Inc., a not-for-profit organization. His three young boys are mixed up in far too many sports, and they enjoy traveling, watching college football, running with Dad, and rooting for the Huskers.
Matt Eickman
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