The Department of Labor released a final rule Tuesday delaying the implementation of its fiduciary duty regulation.
The delay is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, April 7, and will take effect immediately.
The postponement means that the expanded definition of who is a fiduciary when giving advice to clients in retirement accounts as well as the impartial conduct standards will become applicable on June 9. Written disclosure requirements and the full best-interest contract exemption are still scheduled for Jan. 1, 2018, implementation.
The DOL is seeking the delay in order to reassess the rule as called for in a Feb. 3 directive from President Donald Trump, who told the agency to modify or repeal the regulation if it was projected to limit investors' access to financial advice or cause an increase in litigation for firms.
Further delay is expected as the DOL conducts its review.
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Opponents of the rule say it is too complex and costly, and have a key ally in Mr. Trump.
Proponents of the rule, which would require financial advisers to act in the best interests of clients when giving retirement investment advice, say the measure is needed to protect the public from conflicted advice that leads to the sale of inappropriate, high-fee investments that erode savings. Backers of the DOL rule are asserting the Labor Department is rushing the rulemaking process for the delay.