Fiduciary Rule Could See Delays Past January

Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...

By Kristen Ricaurte Knebel

Portions of the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule that go into effect in January 2018 could get pushed further back, an agency official said June 8.

The department may consider more exemptions and there could be further changes to the rule, Timothy D. Hauser, deputy assistant secretary for program operations at the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, said during a meeting of the ERISA Advisory Council.

“Even the likelihood” that there will be further changes to the rule is a good enough reason to push back the Jan. 1, 2018, effective date, he said.

Portions of the rule that the DOL called the “least controversial” are set to become applicable June 9. Other portions, such as the best-interest-contract exemption, aren’t set to go into effect until the beginning of next year.

While many asked for a further delay of the June 9 applicability date, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in a May 22 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal that he wouldn’t be delaying portions of the rule that will go into effect on that date. Those portions include the expanded definition of the term “fiduciary” and the impartial conduct standards.

The DOL on June 6 sent a proposed request for information on portions of the rule that have been delayed until at least Jan. 1 to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The Obama-era rule aims to reduce conflicts of interest for financial advisers giving advice to retirement savers. President Donald Trump asked the department to re-evaluate the rule.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Ricaurte Knebel in Washington at kknebel@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bna.com

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