As anticipated, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced an extension of the applicability dates of the Fiduciary Rule and related exemptions, including the Best Interest Contract Exemption, to June 9, 2017. The immediate impact of the delay is that advisers to retirement investors will be treated as fiduciaries under the Fiduciary Rule and have an obligation to give advice that adheres to “impartial conduct standards” beginning on June 9 rather than on April 10, 2017, as originally scheduled. Compliance with the remaining conditions in these exemptions, such as requirements to make specific written disclosures and representations of fiduciary compliance in communications with investors, is not required until Jan. 1, 2018.
The announcement follows a Feb. 3, 2017, presidential memorandum which directed the department to examine the fiduciary rule to ensure that it does not adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice.
Public comments on the issues raised by the presidential memorandum, and related questions are due by April 17th. In the period between now and Jan. 1, 2018, when all of the exemptions’ conditions are scheduled to become fully applicable, the DOL intends to complete its review under the presidential memorandum and decide whether to make or propose further changes to the fiduciary rule, its applicability date, or associated exemptions.
NCS Regulatory Compliance over the past several months has developed disclosures, policies and procedures and forms to assist our clients in complying with the Rule. If, despite the delay and uncertainty surrounding the future of the Rule, you would like to take steps now to comply with the Rule, or if you have any questions on the status of the DOL Rule and its impact to your business, please contact your NCS Regulatory Compliance Consultant. We will continue to monitor the status of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule and keep you informed of any developments.