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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > DOL

DOL Takes First Step Toward Fiduciary Rule Changes

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The Department of Labor released Wednesday morning a request for information seeking public input on potential further changes to its fiduciary rule, which takes effect Friday.

The RFI was posted on the Office of Management and Budget’s website.

Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta told members of the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday morning that the RFI “just this morning went public” and is “asking industry, asking consumers a number of questions about the rule, about how the rule is being implemented, about the impact the rule has,” adding that “this is the first step” in the administration’s review of that rule. “We need that information and we need that data in order to decide how to proceed.”

The review is part of President Donald Trump’s Feb. 3 executive order that Labor review the rule.

Acosta reiterated to members of the committee that “this administration looked at whether [the fiduciary rule] should be postponed further and concluded that there was no basis to postpone” the June 9 effective date “any further.” The rule, he said, “is being looked at.”

Acosta said in a recent The Wall Street Journal op-ed that Labor “has concluded that it is necessary to seek additional public input on the entire fiduciary rule, and we will do so.”

Jeff Brown, senior vice president and head of Charles Schwab’s Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, told ThinkAdvisor during a Wednesday interview while attending the Investment Adviser Association’s annual lobbying day in Washington, that Schwab has “weighed in on the [fiduciary] rule for seven years; we’ll dive back in” and provide comments on the current RFI, “and we will be an advocate of our clients’ position.”

Change could be made “to improve” the rule around the best interest contract exemption, where “the disclosures are over-burdensome” and require “massive amounts of information to be put on [advisors’] websites.”

The rule’s “creation of the private right of action and the trial bar” as an enforcement mechanism “will really be a problem. … That is not an appropriate enforcement mechanism.”


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