DoL moves to delay fiduciary rule by 60 days

The US Labor Department proposed extending a deadline for brokers to comply with its controversial rule requiring them to put clients' interests first.

The Fiduciary Rule-part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which sought to prevent the corrupt practices that led to the financial crisis of 2008-has faced delays before.

SIFMA called for the delay to be implemented "without haste", saying that the regulation is causing firms to cease offering products as well as serving certain client accounts.

Plan sponsors will understandably be a little hesitant to read into this latest development, given the mixed signals that have emerged from the Trump White House pertaining to the fiduciary rule and other regulations policed by Labor.

Without a delay, the fiduciary rule would take full effect April 10.

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The Labor Department is now running without a leader.

Earlier this week the Office of Management and Budget concluded its review of the delay request and designated the rule "economically significant". While many in the industry welcome a delay in the fiduciary rule's implementation and are hopeful that it will be watered down or reversed, the 60-day delay prolongs the period of uncertainty that has loomed since the election.

"A 60-day delay is relatively short to undertake the type of economic and legal analysis that they're contemplating, which suggests to me that this isn't just going to be a 60-day delay, It's likely going to be a string of delays", said Micah Hauptman, with the Consumer Federation of America. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, SIFMA, Financial Services Roundtable and Insured Retirement Institute vowed last week to appeal a federal judge's recent ruling against their lawsuit.

The Labor Department's proposed delay, which is scheduled to be published in the register on Friday, outlines a comment period of 15 days in which the public can ask questions about the department's intent as well as Trump's memo.