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DOL Fiduciary News: June 13, 2017

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Market Observers Optimistic Over Further Changes to DOL Rule

Best's News Service via Bestwire - June 12, 2017 03:47 PM

WASHINGTON - Market observers expressed optimism the U.S. Labor Department will modify elements of the newly effective fiduciary rule before the final deadline next January, when retirement advisers must comply with all parts of the Best Interest Contract Exemption.

The retirement advice industry has been buoyed with the announcement that DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta will soon release a “Request for Information” – a solicitation for public input that is a first step to taking a deeper look at the rule and a regulatory impact analysis.

“The whole conversation around regulatory impact analysis is critical,” said Robert Doyle, vice president, Prudential Financial Inc. “Studies have been provided to the department. At some level they’ve been given short shrift.”
(http://www.ambest.com)

SEC Should Have Been The Agency To Deal With Fiduciary, Ex-Chief Says

InsuranceNewsNet; June 12, 2017

WASHINGTON --Former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Paul S. Atkins expressed disappointment this morning with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's initial handling of the controversial fiduciary rule.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month, Acosta announced that he would permit the fiduciary rule to take effect, which happened at 11:59 p.m. June 9.

This week's agenda at the Insured Retirement Institute's Government, Legal and Regulatory Conference is heavily tilted toward the Department of Labor fiduciary rule.  Atkins tried "a Hail Mary pass" to get Acosta to take a harder line on the June 9 deadline, but the secretary wasn't swayed.

Still, "there are all sorts of ways he can delay it," Atkins said, referring to Phase II of the rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2018. "My question is what is he going to do with regards to the lawsuits? I hope that the secretary has a plan and (it) is not actually evident to me that he does."
(http://www.insurancenewsnet.com)

PSNC 2017: An Inside View of the DOL

PLANSPONSOR | June 12, 2017

The Department of Labor (DOL)’s fiduciary rule, now in effect, is still likely not the final rule.

That’s according to Timothy D. Hauser, deputy assistant secretary for Program Operations of the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), who spoke to attendees of the 2017 PLANSPONSOR National Conference.

Hauser noted that the EBSA is working on many initiatives, but chose to spend his time speaking about the DOL rule because “that’s what everyone cares about.” The rule went into effect at the stroke of midnight the night of June 9. Hauser said that was intentionally to give advisers, broker-dealers and other providers the weekend to make sure system changes were operable.

In the version of the rule now in effect, Hauser said, exemptions will be applicable—the best interest contract exemption (BICE) and the prohibited transaction exemption (PTE). The only additional requirements is prudence and loyalty, which means not charging unreasonable compensation and not being misleading in communications.
(http://www.plansponsor.com)

What employers should do to ensure fiduciary rule compliance

Employee Benefit News; June 11 2017, 7:03pm EDT

After a number of delays and a series of twists and turns, the rule governing who is and isn’t a fiduciary when it comes to retirement advice went into effect Friday. Though retirement plan sponsors have been preparing for the rule for the last several months, preparation doesn’t stop with the implementation date.

There are a number of things plan sponsors should do to ensure they are in compliance with the rule going forward, including knowing whether their advisers are fiduciaries or have conflicts of interest; reviewing plan communications to make sure they comply with the fiduciary rule; and monitoring how plan providers handle IRA rollovers to make sure they aren’t recommending specific IRAs or investments to plan participants who want to rollover their workplace plan.

“Plan sponsors, in their capacity as fiduciaries, should know whether or not their advisers are fiduciaries and whether they have any conflicts of interest,” says Fred Reish, a partner in Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group. “If I were on a plan committee, I would ask the adviser for a written answer to those two questions.”
(https://www.benefitnews.com)

New Website Brings Fiduciary Rule Implementation Resources to Financial Professionals’ Fingertips

Insured Retirement Institute; June 9, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today launched a website that provides financial professionals with educational resources for the post partial-implementation Fiduciary Rule environment. ClientsFirstPro.org equips financial professionals with practice management tools to support industry efforts to foster substantial and beneficial relationships with investors.

“ClientsFirstPro.org is a one-stop-shop for all the educational materials a financial professional could need to transition under the partial implementation of the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule,” said IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford. “Given the many complexities of the rule, financial advisors will benefit greatly from having real-time access to the most up-to-date information, tools, and resources that will help them understand, navigate and adapt to these new regulations.”
(http://irionline.org)

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