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DOL Fiduciary News: September 1, 2017

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Fiduciary rule may be neutered by new DoL proposal, critics say

Financial Planning; August 31 2017, 12:21pm EDT

With its contentious fiduciary rule only partially in effect, the Department of Labor is pressing ahead with a new proposal to add exemptions to the regulation that business groups say could relieve compliance burdens but that critics contend will effectively neuter the rule.

In its formal call for an 18-month delay of the best-interest contract exemption and other controversial parts of the rule this week, the Labor Department indicated that it is finalizing a proposal for a new exemption likely to focus on certain classes of mutual fund shares ― a central source of the conflicts the original fiduciary regulation was intended to address.

In a Federal Register filing, the department announced that it "anticipates it will propose in the near future a new and more streamlined class exemption built in large part on recent innovations in the financial services industry."

This likely refers to so-called "clean shares" of mutual funds that would be free of the sales incentives and other features that can create conflicts of interest for brokers and advisors.

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