The John Minor Wisdom courthouse, home of the 5th Circuit, in March 2005. The John Minor Wisdom courthouse, home of the 5th Circuit, in March 2005. (Photo: Tim Roller/ALM)

The American Council of Life Insurers and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors pressed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Wednesday to issue the mandate to vacate the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule “expeditiously,” as the rule remains in effect and is causing compliance uncertainty.

The trade groups wrote in their filing with the court that until the court issues the mandate to vacate, Labor will continue its “temporary enforcement policy” of not pursuing claims against “investment advice fiduciaries.”

Labor issued a temporary enforcement policy for its fiduciary rule on May 7, the same date that the 5th Circuit was expected to issue its mandate to vacate Labor’s fiduciary rule.

In that temporary enforcement guidance, the groups wrote, the department explains that “[o]n or about May 7, 2018,” the court was “expected to issue a mandate effectuating its opinion vacating the entire fiduciary rule.”

The department promised “to provide appropriate guidance in the future,” presumably after the mandate was issued, the trade groups wrote.

The court’s opinion vacating the fiduciary rule was issued on March 15, 2018, with a docket entry noting: “Mandate issue date is 05/07/2018.”

“The department’s time to seek rehearing en banc has long passed,” ACLI and NAIFA said. “The mandate, however, has not issued.”

Without a mandate, the rule remains in effect — but subject to Labor’s temporary enforcement policy “as well as the condition that it will be vacated in whole when the mandate issues,” the groups state.

Those factors “create palpable uncertainty for significant portions of the insurance and financial services industries — uncertainty that interferes with long-term planning, that risks generating consumer confusion, and that imposes ongoing compliance costs on regulated entities,” the groups said.

ACLI and NAIFA “respectfully request that this court issue the appellate mandate as expeditiously as possible, consistent with the court’s internal processes.”