The Department of Labor (DOL) has published a proposed rule that will delay the application of the fiduciary rule. As was expected, the proposal would delay the fiduciary rule’s effectiveness by 60 days – from April 10 to June 9.
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What happens now? Well, we first will see some red-tape procedural formalities. Federal law requires a 15-day period during which the public may comment on the appropriateness of a delay. The DOL will consider those comments and could decide not to proceed with the delay, but most likely will swiftly seek approval of a final rule that will postpone the effective date. Because of various challenges within the new administration, including the withdrawal of the proposed labor secretary, the DOL will face a bit of a time crunch to get this all done before April 10. If it desires to follow federal regulations, every day will matter.
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So, what really happens now? The DOL will most likely finalize the delay and then open up a 45-day period during which the public may comment on the substance of the fiduciary rule and related prohibited transaction exemptions. Following that comment period, the DOL will decide whether to proceed with the regulations and exemptions as drafted (unlikely), seek additional delay (very likely), attempt to modify the fiduciary rule and exemptions (quite possible), or revoke the rule and exemptions (also quite possible).
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In the meantime, plan sponsors who utilize a fiduciary advisor should take comfort in knowing that, without regard to what the new DOL will require, they are already using someone who must put the client’s interests first. As always with this topic, stay tuned!
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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