The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new fiduciary rule has been in the news for several years. A portion of the rule relating to impartial conduct standards for employee benefit plans recently went into effect on June 10, 2017. The remaining standards of the rule will become effective January 1, 2018. The rule, which is essentially a consumer protection rule, has been quite controversial in that it imposes fiduciary status on many advisors who provide investment advice to retirement plans, IRAs and HSAs who had not been previously considered fiduciaries. Many advisors have been working diligently to comply with the new DOL fiduciary rule – some investing significant hours and funds to comply.
Last week, the DOL filed a Notice of Administrative Action in a court case stating that it had submitted proposed amendments pertaining to the fiduciary rule to the Office of Management and Budget. While they are currently in proposed state, the amendments propose to delay the applicability date from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019. The proposed amendments have not yet been publicly released. Stay tuned for more details, as it is likely the fiduciary rule will be pushed back.