On February 3, 2017, President Trump signed a presidential
memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Labor (the
"DOL") to examine its new fiduciary rule. (For details on
the fiduciary rule, see our prior
Alert, and, for details on the related DOL-issued FAQs, see our
prior Alert on the First FAQ and
Alert on the Second FAQ.) Contrary to initial reports based on
a leaked draft memorandum, the final memorandum does not delay the
applicability date of the rule (April 10, 2017). However, following
the signing of the memorandum, the acting U.S. Secretary of Labor
issued a statement that the DOL will consider its legal options for
delay. Ropes & Gray is continuing to monitor developments on
the rule and its status.
The text of the presidential memorandum requires the DOL to
examine the rule to determine whether it may adversely affect
access to retirement information and financial advice, and, as part
of that examination, to prepare an updated economic and legal
analysis on the rule. This analysis is required to consider, among
other things, (i) the potential harm to investors due to a
reduction in access to certain products and information, (ii)
whether the retirement services industry's actions in
preparation for the rule may adversely affect retirement investors
or retirees and (iii) whether the rule is likely to increase
litigation and the price to gain access to retirement services. If
the DOL determines that the rule would result in any of these
enumerated harms or otherwise be inconsistent with the goal of
permitting retirement investors to make their own financial
decisions to save for retirement and build the individual wealth
necessary to afford typical lifetime expenses, then it is required
to publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or
revising the fiduciary rule.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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