April 10, 2017

DOL Fiduciary Rule: 60-day Delay to the Applicability Date Finalized

On April 4, the Department of Labor (the DOL) finalized a 60-day delay to the applicability date of its final regulation redefining the term “fiduciary” and issuing new exemptions and related amendments (collectively, the “Fiduciary Rule” or “Rule”). As discussed in our prior client alert, the Fiduciary Rule was scheduled to be generally effective on April 10, 2017; however, the new applicability date will be June 9, 2017.

The delay came in response to the Presidential Memorandum issued on February 3, 2017, regarding the Fiduciary Rule. The Presidential Memorandum directed the DOL to conduct an updated impact assessment on whether the Rule “may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice.” Specifically, the memorandum directs the DOL to consider whether the Rule (i) “has or is likely to harm” retirement investors due to reduced access to certain retirement product offerings and related services, (ii) has caused “dislocations or disruptions within the retirement services industry” that may adversely affect investors or retirees, or (iii) harm retirement investors due to increased prices for retirement product offerings and related services. If the DOL determines that there is or will be harm to investors or that the current Rule is inconsistent with the administration’s priorities, the DOL is directed to rescind or revise the rule, as needed.

In order to have time “to complete a review of the regulation ordered by President Trump,” the DOL determined that it was necessary to delay the applicability date of the Rule. During the 60-day delay, the prior regulation (including the five-part test definition of fiduciary and existing prohibited transaction exemptions) will remain in effect. We anticipate that there may well be a further delay.

For questions, please contact Scott WebsterJack Cleary, Jamie Fleckner, Alison Douglass, any member of Goodwin’s ERISA & Executive Compensation Practice or ERISA Litigation Practice, or your regular Goodwin contact.