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Rules & Regulations

Suspending the Fiduciary Rule: The Process Has Begun

August 10, 2017

The Department of Labor has requested an 18-month delay in implementing the remaining parts of its fiduciary rule, according to a brief that was filed in a Minnesota lawsuit Wednesday. In that brief, the DOL indicated it had submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a proposal to delay the rule from 1/1/18 until 7/1/19. The OMB must review and approve the proposal before it can go into effect.


While 2 provisions of the rule were implemented as of June 9, 2017, the heart of the rule – the actual fiduciary rule contract and disclosure requirements - are set to become effective as of 1/1/18. On that date, here’s what would go into effect:


  • The best interest contract exemption requires that the advisor’s firm enter into a contract with the client that commits the advisor to act in the best interests of the client. The contract must contain an acknowledgement of the fiduciary status of the firm and its advisors.


  • The contract requires that the firm and its advisors will adhere to certain impartial conduct standards (including the best interest standard). The DOL has clarified that the impartial conduct standards are measured based on the circumstances as they exist at the time of the recommendation, rather than upon the ultimate performance of the investment, however.


  • The contract must contain the firm’s warranty that it has adopted, and will comply with, policies and procedures designed to mitigate conflicts, and must include a disclosure about the firm’s services, including its fees and compensation practices.