February 7, 2017

Presidential Memorandum Issued on the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule

At Arnerich Massena, we are proud that we have always been ahead of the curve on this issue, acknowledging fiduciary status and offering independent, unbiased advice to retirement plans.

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, finalized in April of 2016, was set to go into effect in April 2017, with some regulations effective January 1, 2018. But a Presidential Memorandum issued on February 3, 2017 may delay or even halt the regulation. The memorandum directs the Department of Labor to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the rule. If the “updated economic and legal analysis” determines that the rule is likely to harm investors or adversely affect Americans’ ability to gain access to financial advice, the DOL is instructed to publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the fiduciary rule. The memorandum does not explicitly order a delay in the rule’s implementation, but it’s very possible that the review and analysis may require a delay.

The rule amends the definition of a fiduciary with the intent to reduce conflicts of interest by those who provide retirement investment advice. Proponents of the rule point out that it will require financial advisers to act in the best interests of clients, protecting investors. Critics believe the rule is too complex and will increase the cost of financial advice.

Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America said, “If they do a fair review that looks at the factors that the DOL is supposed to review, the rule is safe.” 1 But a new Secretary of Labor has not yet been confirmed, which will pose a challenge to conducting a review.

As the DOL continues to review the impact of the proposed regulations, we will continue to provide updates on the status of the fiduciary rule. Regardless of the outcome of the review, we will continue to acknowledge our fiduciary status and work in the best interest of plan participants.

To read the text of the Presidential Memorandum on the Fiduciary Duty Rule, visit:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/03/presidential-memorandum-fiduciary-duty-rule

 

1 “Final Trump memo lacks explicit directive to delay DOL fiduciary rule” by Mark Schoeff Jr.; Investment News; February 2, 2017, http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20170203/FREE/170209956/final-trump-memo-lacks-explicit-directive-to-delay-dol-fiduciary-rule