13 June 2018
On May 7, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new interim enforcement policy following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's decision to vacate its fiduciary rule in March 2018. DOL's fiduciary rule expanded the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (1974) (ERISA), elevating all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice to a level of a fiduciary (a much higher level of accountability than the previous “suitability” standard required of financial salespersons). As the DOL declined to appeal the case, its interim enforcement policy is expected to provide relief to firms that might have already altered their policies to comply with the fiduciary rule. The DOL also announced that it will not pursue prohibited transaction claims against investment advice fiduciaries who are “working diligently and in good faith” to comply with the impartial conduct standards for transactions which would otherwise be exempted under the old rules. For more information, see https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/employers-and-advisers/guidance/field-assistance-bulletins/2018-02.