In an unsurprising move, the Department of Labor (DOL) postponed the applicability date of the fiduciary rule on April 4 for an additional 60 days. The new applicability date for the rule is June 9, 2017, although the DOL may choose to push that date back even further. The extra time was added just days before the fiduciary rule was set to go into effect and gives the DOL additional time to consider revisions. The agency was ordered to re-evaluate the rule by President Trump back in February.
The rule has sparked significant debate. The DOL noted that it received approximately 193,000 comments and letters regarding the fiduciary rule. Although many expected the fiduciary rule to be on the chopping block once President Trump took office, the agency did not delay the effective date as long as expected, noting concerns over “previous findings of ongoing injury to retirement investors.” The DOL’s re-assertion that there is “ongoing injury to retirement investors” in this latest correspondence may even signal that substantial portions of the fiduciary rule will ultimately remain in place. We will continue to monitor fiduciary rule developments in the coming weeks and months.