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DOL Fiduciary Rule Applicability Date is Extended to June 9, 2017

As anticipated, the Department of Labor delayed until June 9, 2017 the applicability of the Fiduciary Rule, specifically the definition of who is a “fiduciary,” the Best Interest Contract Exemption and Class Principal Transaction Exemptions. Compliance Week reported that under the rule delay, advisers to retirement investors will be treated as fiduciaries and have an obligation to give advice that adheres to “impartial conduct standards” beginning on June 9, rather than on April 10, 2017, as originally scheduled. Compliance with the remaining conditions in the exemptions, such as requirements to make specific written disclosures and representations of fiduciary compliance in communications with investors, is not required until January 1, 2018.  The DOL also delayed the applicability of amendments to Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-24 (which provides an exemption for a plan’s payment of sales commissions to insurance agents, brokers, and insurers in connection with insurance and annuity contracts and mutual fund shares) until January 1, 2018, other than the impartial conduct standards, which will become applicable on June 9, 2017.  The DOL said that the rule delay is necessary to enable it to review and consider possible changes to the Fiduciary Rule and PTEs.