There’s been a lot of confusion in the past few days about the fate of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule. It was widely reported on Friday that President Trump would be signing an order to delay the rule for six months pending further investigation. However when the order was finally issued on Friday afternoon things changed once again, so let’s get to the bottom of things.
Only one order was signed (not two as originally expected) which had no specific reference to the Fiduciary Rule. Instead, President Trump has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to conduct a 120-day review of all laws and regulations related to the financial industry.
The President also signed a memorandum on the Fiduciary Rule which although doesn’t specifically call for any delay in the ruling does call for a substantial review.
According to Section 1 of the memorandum, “You [DOL] are directed to examine the Fiduciary Duty Rule to determine whether it may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice. As part of this examination, you shall prepare an updated economic and legal analysis concerning the likely impact of the Fiduciary Duty Rule.”
The acting Secretary of Labor Ed Hugler issued a short statement following the release of the memorandum, “The Department of Labor will now consider its legal options to delay the applicability date as we comply with the President’s memorandum.”
Although the memorandum creates an opportunity for the DOL to eventually make some big changes and even undo the fiduciary rule altogether, as of Tuesday morning the rule is still on track to take effect April 10th. Experts are strongly encouraging those in the financial industry to continue moving forward with their current plans and prepare to put capabilities in place for the April 10th date.