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The US Department of Labor has formally delayed the implementation of the fiduciary rule designed by the Obama administration to protect retirement savers, in another step towards revising it or scrapping it altogether.
The DoL had already been ordered by President Donald Trump to review the controversial rule, but with its go-live date looming on April 10, it has given itself an extra 60 days to conduct that review.
Details of the delay were published a short while ago.
Financial advisers, broker-dealers and asset managers have been awaiting guidance from the new administration about whether they should halt their preparations for the new rule, which requires retirement advisers to put clients’ interests ahead of their own.
Industry groups said that even a 60-day delay may not be long enough, raising the prospect of more incremental steps while the Trump administration shapes its policy.
Many companies have largely moved to comply with the rule, since parts of it went into effect last year. It also encourages trends that are already well established, including the shift from commissions to fee-based advisory accounts.
A delay to the enforcement date, however, lifts the risk of lawsuits against broker-dealers and other companies deemed to be giving investment advice. That litigation threat has been one of the chief reasons the industry has wanted the rule changed, arguing it will raise costs and reduce the availability of financial advice to small savers.