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DOL Fiduciary News: February 24, 2017

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Merrill Lynch Cuts Maximum Advisory Fee for Smaller Clients

The Wall Street Journal; Feb. 23, 2017 6:11 p.m. ET

Merrill Lynch is cutting account fees by about 20% for some customers who pay for advice, as the brokerage industry continues to put more emphasis on charging investors level fees versus commissions.

The Bank of America Corp.-owned brokerage sent a letter this month to customers affected by the change, which will cut the firm’s maximum fee on smaller accounts, after notifying all of its clients in December of the plan to lower fees, a spokesman for the bank confirmed.

Will Robo-Advisors Benefit From the Fiduciary Rule?

TheStreet; February 23, 2017, 11:42 AM

With a Kansas appeals court upholding the U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule (joining a Texas court as the second U.S. court to do so in two weeks), the reality that the ruling is here to stay seems to be firming up.

Officially, the DOL ruling is on hold for 180 days as the Trump administration reviews the ruling, but many money management firms expect the new fiduciary rule to go forward.

"Most firms and advisors are moving forward with the implementing the fiduciary rule," says Chad Carmichael, principal consultant North Highland, a Charlotte, N.C. consulting firm. "Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, LPL and others have been vocal about their intentions to fulfill on the fiduciary standard. At this point, the train has already left the station."

OMB Working to Finalize DOL Rule Delay

InsuranceNewsNet; Feb 22, 2017

Signs point to the Office of Management and Budget approving a final interim rule delaying the Department of Labor fiduciary rule -- possibly as early as this week.

The DOL delay request – sent to the OMB two weeks ago – can take two forms, a proposed rule or an interim final rule. The biggest difference is the timing of required public comment.

A proposed rule requires public comment before it can be published, while an interim final rule can be published first, with comment taken afterwards, said Erin M. Sweeney, a lawyer with Miller & Chevalier in Washington, D.C.

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