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Feb 2017
07
February 07, 2017

Update: Delay of DOL Fiduciary Rule is Not (Yet) "Official"


The official text of the Presidential Memorandum (Memorandum) published by the Trump Administration late Friday, February 3, 2017, actually falls short of delaying the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “Fiduciary Rule.” Our E-News Alert circulated earlier that same day was based on a version of the Memorandum widely circulated by reliable sources that had originally included a specific delay of 180 days. The final version (which excludes that language) is now available on the Whitehouse website.

The Memorandum is a first step in the lengthy process required to modify or rescind a final federal regulation. The Memorandum directs the DOL to determine whether the Fiduciary Rule may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice. As part of its examination, the DOL is directed to consider whether applicability of the Fiduciary Rule is likely to: (1) harm investors; (2) result in disruptions of the retirement services industry that may adversely affect investors and retirees; and (3) cause an increase in litigation and prices paid by investors and retirees. If the DOL makes an affirmative determination with respect to any of these considerations or concludes that the Fiduciary Rule is inconsistent with the priorities of the Trump Administration, the DOL is further directed to rescind or revise the rule.

In response to the Memorandum, the Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor, Ed Hugler, issued a statement indicating the DOL “will now consider its legal options to delay the applicability date.”  The DOL subsequently posted a statement to its website that the Fiduciary Rule may be subject to change as a result of the examination required by the Memorandum. So, while the Fiduciary Rule remains scheduled to become applicable on April 10, 2017, a delay and other changes do appear to be on the horizon.

We anticipate further announcements about the status of the Fiduciary Rule from the DOL very soon and will keep you posted as further developments occur.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Lisa Zimmer at lzimmer@wnj.com or 248.784.5191 or Shane Hansen at shansen@wnj.com or 616.752.2145.

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