The Department of Labor (DOL) took steps today to delay by at least 60 days its “fiduciary rule” regulations that would subject persons providing investment advice to retirement plan participants and IRA owners to ERISA’s fiduciary standards. The regulations, which were to become operative on April 10, 2017, would have limited impact on retirement plan sponsors and administrators but would require third parties, such as brokers, providing advice to participants to act in the best interests of their clients. For more information on the regulations, please see our prior HRBenefitsAuthority, dated April 14, 2016.
Procedurally, the action taken by the DOL today is only a proposed extension, and the actual extension will be issued after a 15-day comment period. However, it seems virtually certain that the rule will be delayed. During this delay, the DOL will re-examine the regulations in light of President Trump’s February 3, 2017 directive that the agency consider the impact of the rules. For more details on the President’s directive, please see our prior HRBenefitsAuthority, dated February 6, 2017. It now seems likely that the regulations will not take effect until at least June 9, 2017, and further delays and revisions are possible.