On May 22, 2017, the secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the DOL Fiduciary Rule (Rule) will not be subject to further delay. Therefore, June 9, 2017 will be the initial applicability date of the Rule, with Jan. 1, 2018 being the applicability date for certain requirements of the various prohibited transaction exemptions relating to the Rule.
By way of review, on April 7, 2017, the DOL final rule delaying the applicability date of the Rule to June 9, 2017 became effective (April Delay Rule). Furthermore, the April Delay Rule revised the start of the Transition Period for BICE (i.e., Section IX of BICE) from April 10, 2017 to June 9, 2017. The end of the Transition Period remains Jan. 1, 2018. In addition, the April Delay Rule made amendments to the conditions applicable to BICE during the revised Transition Period. Specifically, the April Delay Rule provides that for BICE the Impartial Conduct Standards are applicable June 9, 2017, but the remaining conditions of Section IX – Transition Period for Exemption of BICE - are not applicable in the Transition Period.
On May 22, 2017, the DOL also issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2017-02, Temporary Enforcement Policy on Fiduciary Duty Rule (Bulletin No. 2017-02). Bulletin No. 2017-02 provides that the DOL has determined temporary enforcement relief is appropriate during the Transition Period. During this period, the DOL will not pursue claims against fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions or treat those fiduciaries as being in violation of the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions.