Dale Brown

president and CEO of FSI

The trade association for independent broker-dealers and financial advisers has done as much as any group to make the label “unworkable” stick to the DOL fiduciary proposal. The group says its goal is “constructive engagement” with the Labor Department. But if the rule eventually stalls, FSI will have been a major contributor to obstructing it.

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Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

President and CEO of SIFMA

The most influential financial industry trade group, SIFMA, has been at the forefront of the effort to kill the regulation. It has been equally adamant in pushing for the Securities and Exchange Commission to go first in proposing a fiduciary duty rule, and has worked hard to shape the SEC’s version. SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White announced her support for a fiduciary rule at a SIFMA event in 2015.

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Paul D. Ryan

House Speaker

Since the end of February, Mr. Ryan has moved the DOL fiduciary rule to the top of his hit list. In staff blog posts and public statements, he has portrayed the measure as a symbol of the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach. He has vowed that the House will pass legislation to halt it.

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Phyllis Borzi

Labor assistant secretary

A former high school English teacher and research professor, Ms. Borzi has been head of the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration since the beginning of President Barack Obama’s administration. She has been tough and tenacious in advocating for the rule in the face of fierce industry opposition.

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Ann Wagner

Rep. of R-Mo.

Ms. Wagner has been for years the most vociferous opponent of the DOL rule on Capitol Hill. She gave a rousing speech at a National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors meeting last year, preparing her cohorts for a bloody battle. She touted her own bill that would halt the rule, and said if it didn’t pass the Senate, the next option would be to “defund” the regulation.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren


The scourge of Wall Street, Ms. Warren’s approval of the DOL fiduciary rule turbo charged it on the left. She appeared with President Barack Obama in February 2015 to launch the proposal, and has produced a stream of letters and studies and made statements at congressional hearings about the rule.

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Thomas Perez

Labor secretary

Since being confirmed as labor secretary in 2013, Mr. Perez has embraced and become the face of the agency’s fiduciary duty rule. His adroit political skills helped generate White House support and keep congressional critics at bay.

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The Issue

In 2010, the Labor Department proposed a change to the definition of fiduciary, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, that would have significantly expanded the scope of those who become fiduciaries. After facing significant objections from various industry groups and financial services companies, the DOL withdrew its initial proposal and began to conduct further analysis.

In February 2015, President Obama announced that the DOL should move forward with its rule making. Two months later, the DOL announced a re-proposal of the rule, which was followed by a period for public comment. The DOL received 3,530 comment letters on its proposal. On January 28, 2016, the DOL sent the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB has up to 90 days to complete its review of this significant regulatory action. If approved, the final rule will be published in the Federal Register. Under the Congressional Review Act, “major rules” must be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office for review and may not be enacted until 60 days after it has either been received by Congress or published in the Federal Register, whichever is later.

The DOL fiduciary rule is widely expected to have a significant effect on the financial advisers and the firms they do business with.

Keep coming back to this site for the most up-to-date information on the rule and its impact. If you have a suggestion for a story you don’t see here, please contact IN’s editor, Frederick P. Gabriel Jr. at fgabriel@investmentnews.com.

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