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Investment Advice Rule Nears Release

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The U.S. Labor Department is about to publish the final version of a regulation that will affect insurers and producers that work with defined contribution retirement plans.

The final rule, which will set the rules for insurers, agents and others that want to offer participants in 401(k) type plans investment advice, will appear in the Federal Register Wednesday, the department said today.

The rule includes a regulation that implements the new statutory exemption for investment advice added to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and a related class exemption.

Part of the rule deal with efforts to offer advice through automated systems, and another part will tell advisors how to comply with fee disclosure requirements, officials say.

Officials note that individuals who advise retirement plan members must be compensated on a “level fee” basis.

The final rule is a revision of a draft rule released in August 2008.