The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule requires brokers, insurance agents, and other financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients when providing retirement investment advice.
The rule prohibits an adviser from, for example, steering a client toward lower-performing investments that pay the adviser a large commission when there are better options available. The rule also levels the playing field for the many good actors in the retirement advice community who are already providing advice in their clients’ best interests.
Americans deserve advice about their retirement plans untainted by conflicts of interest. The fiduciary rule will save affected middle-class families tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for their retirement over a lifetime of savings. Any watering down of this rule at the behest of the financial services industry will hurt working people who are trying to save for retirement, particularly those with modest savings who need to make every dollar count. Workers saving for retirement and retirees trying to make ends meet in all 50 states will benefit from the fiduciary rule’s full implementation.
Progress has been good, but pressure from the financial services industry to weaken or scuttle the rule is ever-present.
The Department of Labor began to implement key elements of the rule on June 9, 2017, a process that was set in motion last year. However, the rule will not be fully enforced until Jan. 1, 2018.
Meanwhile, the financial industry is waging an all-out war to ensure that it never has to comply with the full protections of the rule. At the behest of President Trump, Labor Secretary Acosta has issued an official call for input on the rule from stakeholders—which may be a prelude to watering down or reversing it.
On a separate track, the Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking input on whether it should adopt a fiduciary standard under securities laws that would cover non-retirement accounts. Industry opponents of the fiduciary rule are angling to have the SEC standard cover retirement savings as well because they expect an SEC standard to be much weaker than the DOL rule — allowing firms and advisers to continue business as usual.
The financial services industry is also trying, so far with no success, to overturn the rule in the courts. And companies are lobbying Congress for legislation reversing the rule.
Financial professionals you turn to for advice are allowed to profit at your expense.Learn More
The Department of Labor must update the rules and make sure all financial professionals have a legal obligation to put your interests first when they offer retirement advice.Learn More
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