The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced January 16 that it has finalized its rule making investment advice more accessible for millions of Americans in 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

According to DOL, the rule includes a regulation that implements the new statutory exemption for investment advice added to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by the Pension Protection Act (PPA) and a related class exemption. “The final rule provides general guidance on the exemption’s requirements, including computer model certification and disclosures by fiduciaries,” DOL said in announcing the final rule. “The regulation also includes a model form to assist advisers in satisfying the exemption’s fee disclosure requirement. In addition, the final rule includes a class exemption expanding the availability of investment advice,” DOL said.

Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, said in a prepared statement that “Access to professional investment advice is particularly important now for workers as they manage their 401(k) plans and IRAs in changing and volatile financial markets.”

The final rule will be published in the January 21, 2009, edition of the Federal Register.