Good news! The Department of Labor has finally provided some direction for financial advisors on what they can expect if the agency is unable to sort out the delay of the new fiduciary rule ahead of its fast approaching April 10 implementation date.
On March 10, the DOL issued a field assistance bulletin which lays out temporary enforcement policy for the new fiduciary rule. In order to comply with President Trump’s presidential directive to review this new rule with intentions of potentially revising or revising it, they have proposed delaying the impending April 10 by an additional 60 days. If implemented, this possible delay would make the new applicability date June 9.
The DOL has stated its intentions of issuing a determination on whether or not to officially delay the new fiduciary rule prior to its current April 10 applicability date. This uncertainty has left financial service institutions feeling very concerned about what will happen if a final rule implementing the delay is not officially announced before then. They have also been left with a great deal of concern regarding having enough time to comply with the new rule should the DOL decide not to issue a delay based on its evaluation of public comments.
To address these potential unknown decisions, the DOL has issued a bulletin stating if they issue a final rule delaying the current applicability date past April 10, they won’t initiate any enforcement actions against financial advisors during any “gap” period that could potentially be created. Additionally, if they eventually decide not to delay the rule, they won’t initiate an enforcement action because the financial advisor or financial institution failed to comply by the original April 10 applicability date.