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DOL Fiduciary News: September 5, 2017

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SEC Assembles Team to Craft Fiduciary Rule

ThinkAdvisor; August 31, 2017

The Securities and Exchange Commission has assembled the team of officials who will be instrumental in coordinating a fiduciary rulemaking with the Department of Labor. 

The agency announced Thursday that Dalia Blass will serve as director of the agency’s Division of Investment Management, replacing David Grim, and that John Cook is the new lead advisor to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton on matters involving IM, the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA), and on enforcement matters.

Jeffrey Harris, former chief economist at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was also named director of DERA, replacing Mark Flannery.

Blass previously served in leadership roles in the IM division, most recently as assistant chief counsel.

DOL Suspends Enforcement of Class-Action Provision 

Barron’s; Aug. 31, 2017 4:35 p.m. ET

The DOL is suspending enforcement of an aspect of the fiduciary rule that would allow for class-action lawsuits against advisors and financial service companies, ThinkAdvisor reports.

The agency announced the action Wednesday in a Field Assistance Bulletin, the publication notes.

The move came as the DOL started a 15-day comment period on its proposed delay of implementation of key provisions in the fiduciary rule from Jan. 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019, ThinkAdvisor also noted. The new enforcement suspension applies to advisors who want to use the rule’s Best Interest Contract Exemption and the Principal Transactions Exemption.

Fiduciary education is key for plan-sponsor investment committees

InvestmentNews; Sep 2, 2017 @ 6:00 am

The word "fiduciary" is no longer quaint financial jargon for most plan sponsors. Due to regulatory changes over the past several years and attention surrounding the new Labor Department conflict-of-interest rule for plan advisers, the term and its requirements are now very much on the minds of most plan-sponsor investment committee members.

But as advisers and others serving plans will attest, greater awareness doesn't necessarily mean that committee members understand their legal responsibilities or precisely what they should be doing as a plan fiduciary.

"For the most part, committee members don't know what they don't know," said Joshua Itzoe, a partner who heads the institutional client group at Greenspring Wealth, a Towson, Md.-based registered investment adviser managing $2.3 billion in retail and institutional assets. The firm serves more than 50 retirement plans.

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