A year ago, this newsletter featured a piece about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule, which had just been released and which was to have gone in effect in April 2017. Since then, the Trump administration has directed the DOL to “examine the Fiduciary Duty Rule to determine whether it may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice. As part of this examination, you shall prepare an updated economic and legal analysis concerning the likely impact of the Fiduciary Duty Rule.” Link to Presidential Memorandum here. The President did this because, “[o]ne of the priorities of my Administration is to empower Americans to make their own financial decisions.” I think there is a considerable possibility that the rule will be either shelved or at least considerably retooled.
As a result of the original action, many plans were made to comply with the rule. These ranged from new forms to new policies to completely new mutual fund share classes. Perhaps the most important changes were mental in that a lot more people became aware of what the rule was really about, conflicts of interest, and while “fiduciary” is probably not about to enter our everyday lexicon, a lot more people are aware of what it means to be a fiduciary. And no matter what happens to the rule, that’s toothpaste that can’t be put back in the tube.
Regardless of what happens with the rule, we will continue to act with the highest levels of integrity, and we will continue to put your interests before our own.