Are The New DOL Fiduciary Rules Still Relevant?
With the change in the administration, and President Trump’s statements vowing to rescind most of the federal regulations adopted during the Obama administration, it is natural to wonder if the Department of Labor’s revised fiduciary rules, which are scheduled for implementation beginning April 10, 2017, are still applicable.
The regulatory freeze issued on January 20, 2017 by Reince Priebus, the President’s Chief of Staff, and published in the Federal Register on January 24th, essentially froze the publication of new regulations in the Federal Register until reviewed and approved by a department or agency head appointed by President Trump. For regulations already published in the Federal Register, those that had not taken effect were postponed for 60 days from January 20th. The DOL fiduciary rules, which had an effective date of June 6, 2016 (but an applicability date of April 10, 2017), were not subject to the 60-day delay and review.
On Friday, February 3rd, it was announced by Press Secretary Sean Spicer that President Trump would be signing two orders related to financial services, the first relating to a review of Dodd-Frank and the other a 180-day delay of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. However, the final “Presidential Memorandum on Fiduciary Duty Rule” issued February 3rd merely directed the DOL to review the final fiduciary rule published on April 8, 2016, “to determine whether it may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice.” The Memorandum also instructed the DOL to “prepare an updated economic and legal analysis concerning the likely impact of the [fiduciary rule].” There was no prescribed date for completing these tasks, and the April 10, 2017 implementation date was not changed.
So, yes Virginia (or Virgil), the new fiduciary rules will be phased in beginning April 10, 2017 through January 1, 2018. Unless, of course, the DOL issues some regulatory action deferring that implementation date. If it does, we will let you know.
Whatever happens to the fiduciary rules, DirectAdvisors will continue to conduct its investment advisory services in accordance with the highest standards prescribed by ERISA.