In last year’s IA 25, we said that former Labor Secretary Thomas Perez would be credited with forever changing the retirement advice landscape due to his perseverance in getting the fiduciary rule across the finish line. Oddly, the same can be said this year of new Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta.
The full Senate confirmed Acosta as Labor Secretary on April 27 by a 60-38 vote. Under his direction, Acosta will be in charge of unwinding – and potentially killing – Labor’s fiduciary rule. A rule six years in the making.
Indeed, he was bombarded with letters from lawmakers his first day on the job pressuring him to further delay the rule’s June 9 compliance date or delay it permanently.
At his confirmation hearing in mid-March before the HELP Committee, Acosta — former law dean at the public Florida International University in Miami – said that he would follow President Donald Trump’s Feb. 3 executive order directing Labor to review its fiduciary rule.
Not long after, Labor issued a final rule delaying the fiduciary rule’s compliance date — from April 10 to June 9 — after getting the okay from the Office of Management and Budget.
While the effective date has been pushed back, the debate over the fiduciary rule’s content and the structure of the related exemptions “is far from over,” noted ERISA attorneys Fred Reish and Joshua Waldbeser, in a recent alert to clients. The regulation included additional surprises related to the expanded definition of “fiduciary” investment advice, PTE 84-24 (which deals with annuities) and the transition period of the Best Interest Contract Exemption.
“It appears likely that there will be more changes made to the rule and exemptions, following the DOL’s review process,” the Drinker Biddle attorneys said.