On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, the Department of Labor finalized a delay to the applicability date of the Fiduciary Rule until June 9, 2017
Following President Trump’s February 3, 2017 memorandum (the “Presidential Memorandum”)1 directing the Department of Labor (DOL) to prepare an “updated economic and legal analysis concerning the likely impact” of its “Conflict of Interest Rule” on fiduciary investment advice (the “Rule”) and related prohibited transaction exemptions (PTEs), the DOL finalized a delay to the initial applicability date of the Rule until June 9, 2017.2
The DOL also delayed the initial applicability date of the Best Interest Contract (BIC) Exemption, the Class Exemption for Principal Transactions, and amendments to other previously granted exemptions until June 9, 2017. The applicability date of the Impartial Conduct Standards in these exemptions is extended until June 9, 2017, while compliance with other conditions for transactions covered by these exemptions (e.g., specific disclosures and representations of fiduciary compliance in written communications with investors) is not required until January 1, 2018.3
In addition, the DOL delayed the initial applicability of amendments to PTE 84-24 for certain insurance companies and agents until January 1, 2018 (other than the Impartial Conduct Standards, which will be applicable on June 9, 2017).
The DOL argued that these extensions are necessary to enable it to examine whether the Rule may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice, and to prepare the updated economic and legal analysis pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum. The extensions will also allow the DOL to “consider possible changes with respect to the Rule and PTEs based on new evidence or analysis developed pursuant to the examination.”4