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DOL Fiduciary News: February 22, 2017

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Some Merrill Lynch advisers upset with move away from commissions

InvestmentNews; Feb 21, 2017 @ 2:47 pm

Some advisers at Merrill Lynch are not happy with the wirehouse's newly minted policy of embracing advisory over commission relationships in retirement accounts.

Ron Edde, president and chief executive of Millennium Career Advisors, a recruiting firm, said he's seen a range of reactions from advisers "from frustrated to furious."

One Merrill Lynch adviser, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal by his company, called Merrill's decision "unethical" and "so wrong."

OMB Looks Ready to OK Delay of Fiduciary Rule

ThinkAdvisor; February 21, 2017

The Office of Management and Budget scheduled a 2 p.m. meeting Tuesday with AARP to discuss the delay of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule implementation.

Speculation is that Labor could file this week, after OMB approval, the much-anticipated 180-day delay of the rule’s April 10 compliance date, which will appear in the Federal Register.

It’s been only two weeks since Labor filed with OMB to delay the fiduciary rule’s compliance date via a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Court Victories Add to Confusion over Fate of Fiduciary Rule

PLANSPONSOR.COM | February 21, 2017

Much remains uncertain about the future of the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule—crafted and adopted by former President Barack Obama's administration but left to current POTUS Donald Trump to implement.

Will the new president, who is an outspoken critic of government regulation of financial markets, make it a priority to halt the rulemaking before the first deadlines in early April, now just weeks away? What would the impact on client relationships be if the new administration only successfully halts the rulemaking later in 2017, or if it takes them until 2018 to do it? Is it possible the rulemaking will stand even after a review by the new DOL leadership? Even experienced attorneys and industry executives admit they are perplexed as to just what could happen next.

IMOs Defend FIA Product Flexibility to Regulators

InsuranceNewsNet; February 21, 2017

Retaining the ability to change terms embedded in fixed indexed annuity contracts is critical to insurance companies to adjust to market changes, said a top executive of a major FIA seller.

Insurers and insurance marketing organizations (IMOs) have responded to regulators’ questions about why companies can change the terms of FIA contracts after the contracts have been issued.

The comments — 15 in all — were filed as part of the insurance industry’s response to a Department of Labor proposal granting IMOs an exemption to sell commission-based FIAs under the fiduciary rule.

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