After years of intense debate, on January 28 the Department of Labor (DOL) advanced its conflict-of-interest fiduciary regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review.
These rules change the definition of a “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to expand upon who will be subject to strict fiduciary standards and prohibited transaction rules under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. As such, they will have a significant effect on those who recommend or market investment-related products and services to “retirement investors” in employee benefit plans and individual retirement accounts.
Before agency rules are published, they are reviewed by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which has up to 90 days to act — a timeframe that’s critical to its implementation. Given the limited time the current administration has in office and the high-profile nature of the rule, we anticipate the OMB may use its discretion to expedite their review. Additionally, DOL will need the rule finalized by April or mid-May to prevent Congress from exercising its power to reject it under the 1996 Congressional Review Act. Regardless, once the rule becomes effective, opposition is expected to continue during the 8+ month grace period DOL has allotted for final implementation.
For advisors serving clients in their working years and during retirement, there is a lot to understand and prepare for from a business and compliance perspective. The good news is there are steps you can take now to understand and manage the impact while we wait for the final rule.
Join us for a special webinar on Wednesday, February 24 at 11 am PT where we will discuss the implications for your practice and how we can help.
Chris Stanley, General Counsel, and Heather Hooper, VP, Retirement Strategies will be joined by Mike Hadley, Partner, Dave & Harman LLP. A few of the topics include:

  • What does it mean to be a fiduciary under the DOL’s proposed definition?
  • What’s the status of the DOL’s proposed rules and when are they expected to become final?
  • What are the implications for financial advisors?
  • How are Loring Ward and our advisor community positioned to adapt to the new rules?

Register for the Webinar
This information is intended as a general discussion on the subject matter and is not intended to be a complete discussion of ERISA or fiduciary duties under ERISA. Do not rely on this for legal advice. Each ERISA fiduciary issue has its own unique set of facts and circumstances demanding specific attention. Seek the advice of competent ERISA legal counsel on any questions concerning ERISA duties.