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Fiduciary Related News and Intelligence

These are general fiduciary news items. Other topical areas you may find of interest that are not fully covered here include ERISA 404(c) Compliance and Fiduciary Duty, 401k Investment Committees and Fiduciary Responsibility and Liability Issues.


Fiduciary Opponents Still Fighting DOL's Proposed Rule

Abstract: Opponents of the DOL's contentious fiduciary proposal in Congress aren't wasting any time. Less than a week after the department sent its rule outlining stricter requirements for advisors working with retirement plans and investors to the White House for a final review, lawmakers voted to pass two measures that could derail that effort on to the full House for consideration.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, February 2016

DOL Fiduciary Rule Arrives at OMB

Abstract: The DOL sent the measure to the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB has up to 90 days to review the rule, but is likely to expedite the process. After the OMB signs off, the DOL will release the final rule publicly -- perhaps as early as March and likely by April.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), January 2016

When Will the DOL Send Its Finalized Fiduciary Rule to the OMB?

Abstract: The timing of when the OMB receives the rule is significant and the Obama administration is leaving little to chance with the Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule.

Source: Benefitspro.com, January 2016

RayJay CEO: DOL Fiduciary Battle Is Over

Abstract: After countless hours of lobbying, one big opponent of the DOL's plan to rein in brokers' profit from retirement accounts has thrown in the towel. Paul Reilly, chief executive of Raymond James Financial, said that there are no more political strings to be pulled before a final fiduciary rule requiring brokers to put clients' interests ahead of their own is unveiled.

Source: Advisorhubinc.com, January 2016

Congressional Action on Proposed DOL Fiduciary Rule Postponed to 2016

Abstract: As the DOL considers comments on its proposed changes to the definition of fiduciary under ERISA, an open question has been whether Congress would take action to delay or block the rule. Although several possible approaches were actively discussed, Congress ultimately did not pass any legislation in 2015. But these approaches remain open for 2016.

Source: Morganlewis.com, December 2015

The Case for Why the DOL Fiduciary Rule Won't Kill IRA Rollovers

Abstract: Some in the financial industry to claim IRA rollover activity would slow down if the DOL's fiduciary rule is adopted, as brokers currently held to a less-stringent suitability standard of care would abandon prospecting IRA rollover business from 401k plans to avoid liability risks and regulatory costs. Others believe the effect would be minuscule.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2015

Fiduciary Standards for ESG Funds

Abstract: Over the decades, Republican and Democrat administrations have engaged in periodic tightening and loosening of the rules governing the extent to which fiduciaries may take environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into account in making investment decisions. This puts fiduciaries in a difficult position whenever the rules change, as they recently have again.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

Lawmakers Throw Hail Mary to Thwart DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Bipartisan lawmakers introduced bills Friday that would stop a Labor Department proposal to strengthen investment advice rules for retirement accounts and replace it with a standard written by the legislators.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Survives Best Opportunity to Kill It

Abstract: The DOL rule to amend the definition of fiduciary for retirement advice survived one hurdle late Tuesday as the omnibus spending bill did not include riders requiring the rule to undergo another comment period or to defund the rule. The rider may have been opponents' best opportunity to kill the rule before it was completed.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, December 2015

Congress Fails in Effort to Slow Fiduciary Rule Process

Abstract: Congress reached an agreement on a budget deal that did not include riders that would have changed the process of the Department of Labor’s proposal to change the definition of fiduciary advice under. There are rumors that the DOL's final rule will be issued as early as January 2016.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

Fiduciary Responsibilities in 403(b) Plans

Abstract: Of non-profit organizations that sponsor 403(b) retirement plans, only 60 percent are reviewing and evaluating the investment options in their plans, according a new survey from the Plan Sponsor Council of America that explores retirement plan trends among non-profit organizations.

Source: Psca.org, December 2015

Institutionalizing DC Plans Can Add Fiduciary Protection

Abstract: The institutionalization of defined contribution plans is gaining traction, and is yet another way plan sponsors can achieve their fiduciary responsibilities, experts say.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Under Two-Pronged Congressional Attack

Abstract: House lawmakers are taking a two-pronged attack in an attempt to prevent the Department of Labor from finalizing its proposed conflict-of-interest rule: by throttling the DOL's funding and by introducing their own "best interest" financial advice bill.

Source: Bna.com, December 2015

Fiduciary Skill Critical to Plan Distribution Success

Abstract: ERISA attorney outlines key fiduciary responsibilities related to retirement plan distributions and rollovers. A new whitepaper by Fred Reish argues participant education and sponsors' fiduciary knowledge are both critical to plan distribution success.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

DOL's Fiduciary Exemption Is Not a Workable Option for Advisers

Abstract: Despite months of media attention and frequent discussion within our industry, many financial advisers are only beginning to grasp the implications of the Labor Department's effort to expand its definition of fiduciary under ERISA.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2015

DOL's Retirement Advice Rule: Helping or Harming Sound Retirement Planning?

Abstract: This 15-page white paper suggests the recently re-proposed DOL fiduciary rule, meant to protect the retirement savings of individuals, may well have the opposite effect. The DOL rule should be more fully analyzed and adjustments made to ensure the rule does not have an adverse impact on retirement plan access and investment education.

Source: Accf.org, November 2015

Anger Turns to Resignation in Face of DOL Rule

Abstract: Months and many public hearings later on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule, anger has mellowed into grudging resignation. That appears to be giving way to the new reality: those non-fiduciaries who sell financial products into retirement plans are simply going to have to adapt.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, November 2015

New Fiduciary Rules: Whose Interests Come First?

Abstract: Your broker is about to become a fiduciary -- at least when it comes to your retirement accounts -- and, depending on whom you ask, that could be a very good or very bad thing.

Source: Cnbc.com, November 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Is 'Biggest Change That We'll Go Through': Pershing

Abstract: Could the Department of Labor's impending new fiduciary rule fundamentally change the industry as it is today? The real impact of the new DOL fiduciary rule won't be felt immediately, Pershing's John Brett says, but two to five years after it take effect.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, November 2015

Regulatory FAQs: Department of Labor Fiduciary Re-Proposal

Abstract: The Department of Labor's proposed definition of fiduciary expands the number of people who would be considered fiduciaries under ERISA. What does that really mean?

Source: Manning-Napier.com, November 2015

Small Business Lobbies Congress to Alter DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Small businesses are pleading with lawmakers and the Department of Labor, saying they're getting the short end of the stick with regards to the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule.

Source: Benefitnews.com, November 2015

Congress Working to Dismantle DOL Fiduciary Proposal

Abstract: Some members of Congress have been working to defeat or come up with alternatives for the Department of Labor's fiduciary proposal, which would extend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's conflict-of-interest requirements to brokers handling workers' retirement savings.

Source: Bna.com, November 2015

Will New DOL Rule Contain Fiduciary Surprise for 401k Recordkeepers?

Abstract: Is a 401k recordkeeper a fiduciary under ERISA? According to § 2509.75-8 Questions and answers relating to fiduciary responsibility under ERISA, the answer is "probably not." In general, 401k recordkeepers have been flying safely under the fiduciary radar for some time now. But is all this about to change?

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, November 2015

What Responsibilities do Employers Retain After Outsourcing Plan Administration?

Abstract: Because a retirement benefit plan, like a 401k or 403(b) plan, requires you to meet an expert standard, more and more employers are outsourcing administration to third parties, sometimes known as fiduciary experts. Done properly, outsourcing can assure that the plan is well managed while relieving you of significant commitments and responsibilities. However, you still have responsibilities.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, November 2015

Department of Labor's 2015 Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues

Abstract: This 25-page report from the Congressional Research Service on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule looks back on how it all came about, its history, and what it entails.

Source: Fas.org, November 2015

Congressional Research Service Issues In-Depth Report on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: As the DOL prepares the final iteration of the fiduciary rule, it may be useful to look back on how this all came about and what it entails. The Congressional Research Service is facilitating just that kind of review through "Department of Labor's 2015 Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues," a comprehensive report it recently issued.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2015

Passive Management and the False Premise of Fiduciary Relief

Abstract: Defined contribution retirement plan fiduciaries have become increasingly interested in greater utilization of passive management. The decision to move to a purely passive approach seems to be based on two dubious premises, namely, that 1) it is safer for fiduciaries to offer funds that have the lowest absolute cost and little risk of underperforming a stated benchmark, and 2) fiduciary oversight obligations are nearly eliminated. This paper particularly examines the second premise.

Source: Russell.com, November 2015

Twelve Predictions About What the DOL's Fiduciary Rule Will Look Like When Implemented

Abstract: Advisers should not be distracted by all of the noise. Despite the daily drumbeat of industry-inspired opposition, a review of the political and regulatory landscape leads to the conclusion that the DOL fiduciary rule will survive largely intact. Author offers 12 predictions about the rule that will come to pass.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2015

Don't Underestimate the Importance of the "Fiduciary" Designation

Abstract: With more than 3,000 public comments to consider, and facing pressure on many fronts, the DOL has a lot to chew on as it works to finalize its proposed rule defining the term "fiduciary." As we await the outcome of those deliberations, let's remind ourselves why it's such a big deal.

Source: Russell.com, October 2015

Will Your Fiduciary Insurance Cover You When You Need It?

Abstract: Will that insurer your company has been paying premiums to for all of these years stand behind you if you are sued for ERISA violations? Article covers a few points to be considered in a thorough review of coverage.

Source: Pensionsbenefitslaw.com, October 2015

DOL Fiduciary Rule Questions Answered

Abstract: Fi360 recently sponsored a webinar on the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule. More than three-dozen written questions posed by attendees were left unanswered. This is the first of several articles dealing with these unanswered webinar questions.

Source: Fi360.com, October 2015

Labor Secretary Promises Balanced Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The final version of the Department of Labor's conflict-of-interest rule will be thoughtful and balanced, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said. While Perez was reluctant to reveal what specific revisions might be made before the fiduciary rule is finalized, he said that he is confident that there will be changes made to clarify and improve upon the proposal.

Source: Bna.com, October 2015

With Fiduciary Rule, DOL Pursues Conflicts of Interest in the Rollover Process

Abstract: The biggest impact of the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule, a.k.a. the "conflict of interest rule," isn't on plans or plan advisors, it's on the IRA market, ERISA attorney Fred Reish told a workshop session at the ASPPA Annual Conference Oct. 20.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2015

ASPPA Believes DOL Fiduciary Rule Is All but Inevitable

Abstract: Hundreds of retirement plan advisers are shifting their game plan as they descend on Capitol Hill this week. Instead of urging lawmakers to kill a Labor Department rule that would raise advice standards for 401(k)s and IRAs, they've accepted the rule will become a reality and instead seek to modify it to address their concerns.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2015

Impact of Platform Provider Carve-Out on 401k Plans Remains Unclear

Abstract: The article discusses proposal of the DOL to include "carve-outs" on the scope of the fiduciary rule and investment advice definition for recordkeepers and TPAs of 401k plans. Discussion of how the carve-out process works and its associated requirements is provided. Overview of the possible implications of carve-out process in both retirement providers and sponsors is also mentioned.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, October 2015

Fiduciary Rule Backers Have a New Ally: Technology

Abstract: The financial services industry has sold legislators on the idea that, as the contractor in the commercial opines, somehow small investors will lose access to advice if they can't be sold products such as IRAs from mutual fund call centers and insurance companies. But technology has the potential to force a change that no industry can stop.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, October 2015

Financial Engines CIO Chris Jones Supports Fiduciary Standard

Abstract: As CIO of Financial Engines, Christopher Jones works at the intersection of two provocative retirement investing themes. In this Q&A, he talks about the DOL's fiduciary standard push and technology's role in providing financial advice.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, October 2015

House Committee Passes Bill That Would Delay Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Even if the bill makes it to the floor of the full House, American Retirement Association Director of Congressional Affairs Andrew Remo does not think much of its prospects, remarking, "President Obama's forceful support of the fiduciary rule in February has muted House Democratic support for the Wagner bill, ensuring its defeat in this Congress."

Source: Ntsa-net.org, October 2015

Big Changes Ahead for DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL will make changes to a proposal to raise investment advice standards for retirement accounts as soon as it digests thousands of comments letters, the official spearheading the rule said Tuesday. One such change could involve the controversial contract brokers must sign with clients in order to have flexibility in how they charge.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), September 2015

Department of Labor's Proposal to Define "Investment Advice"

Abstract: The DOL intends to use the proposed definition of "investment advice," addition of a "best interest contract" exemption, and changes to current exemptions to more substantially extend its authority over IRAs. As a result, virtually all sales and marketing activities in connection with IRAs will be "investment advice" and subject to the prohibited transaction provisions. The purpose of this article is to explain how the DOL proposes to accomplish this.

Source: Groom.com, September 2015

Are Plain-Vanilla 401k Investment Options a Fiduciary Imperative?

Abstract: Investment fads come and go, but they tend to stay on the 401k menu of investment options. Whose responsibility is it to recognize when investment fads expire? It may be reasonable to place that responsibility on the fiduciary duty of the plan sponsor who then can offer employees with the proper menu of the core building blocks.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, September 2015

Fiduciary Financial Advisers and the Incoherence of a 'High-Quality Low-Fee' Safe Harbor

Abstract: Americans now hold trillions of dollars in individual retirement savings accounts. Concerned about conflicts of interest among financial advisers who provide advice to retirement savers, the DOL has proposed imposing fiduciary status and a "best interest" standard on such advisers. But authors state, "This policy incoherence is worrisome because of the potential for the safe harbor to swallow the best interest standard."

Source: Ssrn.com, September 2015

Proposed DOL Fiduciary Regulation May Lead to Unintended Roadblocks for 403(b)s

Abstract: The DOL has traditionally been very supportive of 403(b) modernization. In fact, they've encouraged it. Author writes, "That's why it is particularly curious that the DOL's proposed fiduciary regulation seem to introduce prohibitions that will likely prevent future modernization."

Source: Principal.com, September 2015

Fiduciary Education Considerations

Abstract: Rumor has it that regulatory exams of retirement plans continue to include explicit questions about whether a formal fiduciary education program exists and, if it does, what it contains. Still, such programs appear to be rare.

Source: Pensionriskmatters.com, September 2015

Analyst Says DOL Creates New Conflict in Its Conflict of Interest Rule

Abstract: The Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule, which is designed to remove conflicts of interests from advisors to IRAs and most of the country's 401k plans, actually creates a new conflict of interest, according to one analyst.

Source: Benefitspro.com, September 2015

Seven Things Fiduciaries Shouldn't Say in Court

Abstract: Fiduciaries and sponsors might want to note these incriminating statements in a notorious 401k court case. Article looks at seven examples of what not to say when under oath.

Source: Benefitspro.com, September 2015

Fiduciary's Failure, in One Flowchart

Abstract: This chart maps out the restrictions the DOL's proposed change to the definition of fiduciary puts on consumers, employers and financial advisors.

Source: Uschamber.com, August 2015

DOL Issues Re-Proposed Conflict-of-Interest Rule for Investment Advice

Abstract: The DOL's re-proposed fiduciary definition of "investment advice" would consider more advisors to be investment advice fiduciaries subject to ERISA. The regulation would also affect the 15% excise tax on prohibited transactions in employee benefit plans, IRAs and annuities, and HSAs. Plan sponsors, plan participants and IRA owners may benefit, assuming the rules make conflicts of interest considerably more transparent.

Source: Towerswatson.com, August 2015

Summary of Comments From the DOL Hearing on the Proposed Conflict of Interest Rule

Abstract: On August 13, 2015, the DOL concluded a four day public hearing on its proposed conflict of interest rule. The approximately 75 witnesses generally fell into two groups: the financial services industry and consumer groups. During the hearing, each witness read a prepared statement before responding to questions from a panel of DOL employees. This article summarizes some of those comments.

Source: Shearman.com, August 2015

Effects of the Fiduciary Rule: Questions Advisers Are Asking

Abstract: The DOLs Fiduciary Rule could affect you if you recommend a plan distribution to a participant or provide advice on how to invest assets to be rolled over or distributed from a plan or IRA, because these suggestions would now be fiduciary advice. If the advice results in a prohibited transaction, under the proposed rule you would need to satisfy the conditions of the DOL's "best interest contract" exemption.

Source: Planadviser.com, August 2015

The Great Divide: The Different Effect of the DOL's Fiduciary Proposal on Large and Small Plans

Abstract: The DOL conflict of interest proposal includes a complex array of exceptions and exemptions, the requirements of which vary depending on the size and nature of the retirement vehicle, as well as the type of product being sold. Some of these requirements will change in the process of finalizing the proposal. It is incumbent on plan sponsors, as well as their advisers, to avoid engaging in prohibited transactions, but to do this will require close monitoring of how the new rules work together.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, August 2015

Fiduciary Rule "Going to Change the Game"

Abstract: Calling it a "game changer," NTSA Executive Director Chris DeGrassi and American Retirement Association CEO Brian Graff offered their takes on the Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, August 2015

DOL's Fiduciary Proposal: Significance for Plan Sponsors

Abstract: The DOL proposal may affect plan sponsors in three ways. First, sponsors and sponsor staff may, in some cases, be advice fiduciaries under the proposed rule. Second, sponsors may be affected as direct consumers of advice. Third, sponsors may be affected as indirect consumers of advice. Article reviews each one in more detail.

Source: Octoberthree.com, August 2015

"We are Absolutely Not Banning Commissions," says DoL Fiduciary Hearing Chief

Abstract: The agency wants a fundamental shift in Wall Street culture and sees a "best interest contract" as a way to as a way to do that. "We are absolutely not banning commissions...[w]e just want everyone who is working on retirement accounts to be acting as fiduciaries."

Source: Financial-Planning.com, August 2015

Ten Questions Regarding DOL's Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Ron Rhoades responds to 10 questions he has received regarding the DOL's "Conflict of Interest" (fiduciary) rule proposal, and its future.

Source: Scholarfp.blogspot.com, August 2015

Don Trone Blasts DOL Fiduciary Plan

Abstract: Don Trone, often referred to as the "Father of Fiduciary," testified at a Department of Labor hearing on Thursday that its proposed fiduciary rule making would have failed to stop famed Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, and that more fiduciaries than brokers have stolen money from investors.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, August 2015

Opponents to DOL Fiduciary Rule Say Tweaks Aren't Enough

Abstract: In the first day of hearings on the DOL's fiduciary rule, DOL deputy assistant secretary Timothy Hauser sketched a potential simplified contract that would allow financial advisers flexibility in their compensation arrangements as long as they act in the best interests of their clients. Even after the Labor Department modifies its proposal to curb conflicts of interest for brokers working with retirement accounts, it may not be enough to satisfy opponents.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), August 2015

Industry Making "a Last Gasp Effort" for Revisions to DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: In testimony this week, adviser groups have called the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule "burdensome" and argued the additional requirements, such as increased disclosures, would make it harder for financial professionals to provide investors with affordable services and products. Others call the industry's loud objections to the rule, "a last gasp effort."

Source: Benefitnews.com, August 2015

The DOL Fiduciary Proposal: Investment Education Vs. Advice

Abstract: The DOL's proposed regulation re-defining who is an ERISA fiduciary would, among other things, supersede current rules on investment education. This article provides background on the education vs. advice distinction and on the current rules. It then reviews the DOL proposal and conclude with a discussion of the issues it presents for sponsors.

Source: Octoberthree.com, August 2015

Benchmark DC Plan Fees Now to Lower Your Personal Risk

Abstract: Continuing focus on DC plan fees by litigators, regulators and the media has made it clear that fiduciaries must understand and determine “reasonable” fees being paid from a DC plan. Since fiduciary liability is personal, sound risk mitigation calls for a rigorous process to establish reasonable fees on an ongoing, regular basis.

Source: Xerox.com, August 2015

Most Advisors See Little Effect From New Fiduciary Rules

Abstract: Some reps who think they are ready for a fiduciary standard may not fully grasp the implications. More than two-thirds of financial advisors, 67 percent, say recent moves by regulators are having "minimal to no impact" on their risk assessment processes, according to a survey.

Source: Benefitspro.com, August 2015

NTSA Conference Presentation Sheds More Light on DOL's Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: During the first round of breakout sessions at the 2015 NTSA 403(b) Summit in Nashville, an expert panel led a lively and engaging discussion about the Department of Labor’s re-proposed fiduciary rule, and the potential impact on common business practices. Amy L. Simonson summarizes the who, what, when, where, why and how of the proposed rule.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, August 2015

What Can Fiduciaries Learn From Tibble v. Edison?

Abstract: The Tibble decision presents some obvious implications for plan sponsors and fiduciaries. Plan sponsors need to engage in periodic monitoring of their retirement plan investments, with proper documentation, either on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. The investment monitoring should include criteria that encompasses performance and risk-based analytics as well as benchmarking the fees, both investment and administrative, paid by participants and the plan.

Source: Schneiderdowns.com, July 2015

SEC Faces Its Own Debate on Fiduciary Advice Standards

Abstract: Transcripts from a tough SEC hearing called earlier this month show it's not just the Department of Labor considering changes to the application of the fiduciary standard.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2015

Will Trial Lawyers be the Sole Beneficiary of a Watered-Down Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: The law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton has had a very good couple of weeks. After winning two high profile 401k fee lawsuits, courts have approved the payment of more than $31.9 million in legal fees. These settlement fees got the author thinking about the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule. Would the proposal, if implemented, give trial lawyers more fodder for excessive 401k fee lawsuits? Author thinks it would.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, July 2015

A Caveat to the Advice to Pension Fiduciaries to "Document, Document, Document"

Abstract: It is good to have a formal record of steps that have been taken. Whether it's the evaluation of providers, the benchmarking of fees, or any of the many other steps that fiduciaries take as part of their oversight of the investment program, you'll want it on record. But, while some documentation serves to explain decisions, and to demonstrate due process, not all documentation has that effect.

Source: Russell.com, July 2015

Where Key Players Align in the DOL Fiduciary Fight

Abstract: As the DOL's fiduciary rule proposal's comment period ends, here's a snapshot of some of the larger parties' stances.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), July 2015

Perez Says DOL Fiduciary Debate Shifts From Whether to How

Abstract: Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez told lawmakers that the debate surrounding the fiduciary rule proposal has evolved from whether it's necessary to how to put the fiduciary measure into practice.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), July 2015

Comment Period Closes on DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL re-proposed its fiduciary rule mid-April. Under the proposal, brokers and advisers to individual retirement plans would have to follow the same stringent rules as registered investment advisers. July 21 was the last day to submit a comment on the proposal. Article reviews many of the comments received.

Source: Benefitnews.com, July 2015

DOL Official Promises Changes to Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: A Labor Department official said the agency's proposal to raise investment-advice standards for brokers working with retirement accounts would be modified in response to criticism.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), July 2015

Obama Doubles Down on DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: President Obama reiterated his administration's intent to implement the Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule. The comments from the president are his latest commitments of political capital to the DOL's efforts.

Source: Benefitspro.com, July 2015

Fiduciary Advice Proposal Signals a Fundamental Shift in the DOL's Approach

Abstract: The DOL's fiduciary proposal represents a fundamental shift in the Department's approach to regulating the retirement services industry. This article discusses three aspects of the proposal that illustrate this fundamental shift.

Source: Groom.com, July 2015

401k Plans and the Fiduciary Standard

Abstract: Employers are often placed in a position of trust with respect to their company's 401k plan. Unfortunately, until recently the responsibilities associated with that position have not been fully understood. That is about to change.

Source: Brightscope.com, July 2015

Defining "Best Interest" Standard in Fiduciary Debate a Head Scratcher

Abstract: Two industry trade groups and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority came out recently with uniform best interest standards in an attempt to squelch what they say will be competing fiduciary plans to be issued by the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, June 2015

Senate Appropriations Bill Targets Fiduciary Proposal

Abstract: Appropriations subcommittees on Capitol Hill -- first in the House and now in the Senate -- have taken a shot at blocking the Labor Department's fiduciary proposal by denying funding for the measure.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2015

Money Market Funds Changes - Implications for Fiduciaries

Abstract: New SEC money market funds rules that go into effect in 2016 will impact nearly every retirement plan that uses such funds as investment options or to facilitate plan administration. Plan sponsors, investment committees, those who advise them, and plan administrators should understand the upcoming changes in order to determine what steps that will be required or may be beneficial to take regarding such funds, and to consider their alternatives.

Source: Reliance-Trust.com, June 2015

DOL Sets Fiduciary Regulation Hearing Dates

Abstract: The DOL has announced public hearing dates of August 10-12, and August 13 if necessary, for its proposed conflict-of-interest (fiduciary definition) regulations.

Source: Ascensus.com, June 2015

Will Investors Benefit From a Unified Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: The Department of Labor's proposed rule holding brokers and registered investment advisers to a higher fiduciary standard isn't the slam dunk that many claim. There are two possible problems with one uniform standard.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, June 2015

Supreme Court Decision in 401k Case May Have Profound Effect on Fiduciary Debate

Abstract: At issue in Tibble v. Edison was whether an ERISA fiduciary has an ongoing duty to manage plan assets for statute of limitations purposes. The Court's ruling, while in line with the recent push toward a higher standard for those rendering investment advice to retail customers, appears to be at odds with the DOL's newly proposed rule expanding the definition of fiduciary under ERISA.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), June 2015

Locked Out of Retirement: The Threat to Small Business Retirement Savings

Abstract: The DOL is expanding the definition of fiduciary investment advice under a federal law known as ERISA. The result would be that many traditional forms of compensation, such as commissions that vary from one investment to another, for financial advisors could become illegal under special provisions in that law called "prohibited transactions." According to this 13 page paper, a number of aspects of the proposal appear unworkable in actual practice, and would negatively impact how advisors assist small businesses in providing retirement benefits for their employees.

Source: Centerforcapitalmarkets.com, June 2015

Fiduciary Rule Could Impact Brokers the Most

Abstract: The proposed fiduciary rule will have a major effect on the retirement industry and brokers could be the most affected group. "They're going to be impacted by this probably greater than anyone else," said Managing Consultant Scott Brogan, one of three BridgePoint Group, LLC panelists that discussed the proposal's potential impacts.

Source: Benefitnews.com, June 2015

DOL Pushing to Finalize Conflict of Interest Rule by May 2016

Abstract: The DOL intends to finalize its re-proposed rule defining a fiduciary in May of next year, Groom Law Group Chairman Steve Saxon said on June 8. Saxon made his remarks at the SPARK Institute's annual conference in Washington, DC.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2015

DOL Posts Public Comments on Proposed Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The DOL has created a page on its website that lists and links to the comments it has received on it's proposed fiduciary rule. The comment period is scheduled to run through July 20, so additional comments will be posted.

Source: Dol.gov, June 2015

The Impact of the DOL's Fiduciary Proposal on Sales of Insurance Products

Abstract: This paper explains the basis for the conclusions about the impact of the Department of Labor proposal to amend the fiduciary investment advice regulation and the prohibited transaction exemptions for sales of insurance products to plans, participants and IRAs.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com, June 2015

A Fiduciary Throwdown in D.C.

Abstract: The Bipartisan Policy Center convened what at least one participant termed a "policy wonk throwdown" in the nation's capital May 27. The subject? The Department of Labor's fiduciary proposal. The actual title of the event was "Champions, Critics and Consequences of a New Fiduciary Standard," and it covered all that ground and more.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2015

FINRA Chief Pans DOL Fiduciary Proposal

Abstract: Richard Ketchum voices support for SEC to move on a uniform fiduciary standard for brokers and advisors, while warning of unintended consequences from DOL's proposal.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, May 2015

The Fiduciary Hierarchy

Abstract: There is a hierarchy of service models available in the 401k marketplace. Each of which offers Plan Sponsors a different level of support with regard to investment selection and monitoring. Here is a brief description of each in the order of lowest to highest fiduciary protection.

Source: Retirementplanblog.com, May 2015

Former Employee Plan Participants: What Is in Their Best Interest?

Abstract: Given the large impact excessive fees can have on former participant IRA rollovers, sponsors are beginning to evaluate potential solutions to address these issues and to assist their former employees. Regardless of employment status, companies and their retirement committees want current and former employees to be able to stay on a path toward a successful retirement. Article discusses of what some sponsors are currently doing and a few ideas concerning future changes within the industry that should help protect former employees' retirement savings.

Source: Milliman.com, May 2015

Proposed Fiduciary Definition Regulations Will Impact Investment Adviser Practices

Abstract: One result of the proposed regulations and accompanying prohibited transaction exemptions is the "ERISAfication" of IRAs. Because of the significant changes in operation that might be required for investment advisers and other plan consultants, it is important to anticipate how these proposals could impact current practices.

Source: Faegrebd.com, May 2015

What's the Difference Between "Sole" Interests and "Best" Interests?

Abstract: So what is the difference between "sole" interest and "best" interest? And why does it matter? Fi360 CEO Blaine Aikin looks at this distinction and asks whether some conflicts are what's "best" for investors.

Source: Fi360.com, May 2015

Lawmakers Ask DOL's Perez to Extend Fiduciary Comment Period

Abstract: Lawmakers asked Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in two separate letters this week to extend by another 45 days the comment period on the Department's redraft of its rule to amend the definition of fiduciary under ERISA. Fiduciary advocates tell Perez to rebuff requests.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, May 2015

Retirement in America: The Fiduciary Definition in Context

Abstract: The DOL recently proposed new regulations to address the changing times and to help eliminate conflicts of interest in retirement planning and investing. This 13 page white paper take a look at the bigger retirement picture, and consider how the DOL’s proposal may affect retirement preparation in the United States.

Source: Mtrustcompany.com, May 2015

Schwab CEO: Better That DOL Goes First on Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Like most financial industry officials, Charles Schwab Corp. president and chief executive Walter Bettinger II wants the DOL and the SEC to coordinate their efforts on raising investment advice standards for brokers. But, he's afraid that DOL and SEC could end up with two different standards, and that would confuse the public.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), May 2015

The New Fiduciary Advice Regulation and Its Likely Impact on Advisors

Abstract: The proposed fiduciary definition changes are so great that advisors should be aware of them now and perhaps begin adapting their practices to the anticipated changes. This article discusses the DOL proposal and the exemption for commissions (and, possibly, rollovers) and their likely impact on advisors.

Source: Hartfordfunds.com, May 2015

Impact of Updated Fiduciary Investment Advice Definition on Large Plans

Abstract: The proposed DOL fiduciary regulations are expected to have a transformational impact on the retirement landscape. The most fundamental effects of the proposed regulations will be on small plans and IRAs, as well as their investment advisers, consultants or other service providers. However, the proposed regulations will also impact the landscape for large retirement plans in various ways as outlined here.

Source: Kilpatricktownsend.com, May 2015

What Does Retirement Plan "Best Interests" Really Mean

Abstract: The DOL asserts the new fiduciary rule will require brokers to act in the "best interest" of the clients they serve, whether they be institutional or individual. But the DOL never really defines exactly what "best interest" means. Author canvassed retirement plan service providers from coast to coast to see if he could discover the phrase means.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, May 2015

Are You My Fiduciary?

Abstract: When the DOL's proposed fiduciary regulation becomes effective, plan sponsors, IRA owners and plan participants should be asking, "Are You My Fiduciary"? Understanding whether or not the protective wing of a fiduciary pertains to the plan or IRA will require an analysis of both the proposed expansion of the rule and its complex exceptions.

Source: Benefitsbryancave.com, May 2015

What the DOL Fiduciary Proposal Means for Banks

Abstract: The DOL issued a draft proposal earlier this month that would require financial advisers to provide retirement savings advice that is in a customer's "best interest" in an effort to minimize conflicts of interest. This article lays out some frequently asked questions about the rule, including why it's important for bankers.

Source: Financial-Planning.com, May 2015

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