DOL Proposes 60-Day Delay Of The Fiduciary Rule

On March 1, 2017, the Employee Benefits Security Administration announced its intention to issue a proposed rule which would extend for 60 days the applicable date of the “fiduciary rule.” The proposal for extension was published in the Federal Register on March 2, 2017 (page 12319). The final fiduciary rule was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016 and became effective on June 7, 2016, with an applicable date of April 10, 2017. In its final version, the fiduciary rule was entitled “Definition of the Term ‘Fiduciary,’ Conflict of Interest Rule – Retirement Investment Advice.”

By memorandum dated February 3, 2017, President Trump directed that the Department of Labor (“DOL”) examine whether the final fiduciary rule may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice. The President further directed the DOL to update its economic and legal analysis concerning the likely impact of the final rule. In the March 2, 2017 announcement, the DOL invited comments on the proposed 60-day extension. The proposed 60-day delay will be effective upon the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.   The fiduciary rule would generally expand fiduciary responsibility under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to certain individuals that provide investment advice in connection with employee retirement plans.

Comments to the proposed extension must be submitted before March 17, 2017. With respect to other specific issues addressed in the President’s memorandum and in the Federal Registered extension proposal, comments may be submitted to the DOL on or before April 17, 2017.For further information please contact Whitney Wallingford at [email protected] or Brian Ritchie at [email protected]