DOL agrees to re-propose its rule on ERISA fiduciary

BVWireIssue #109-1
October 5, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration will re-propose its rule on the definition of a fiduciary, says a new DOL release. “The decision to re-propose is in part a response to requests from the public, including members of Congress, that the agency allow an opportunity for more input on the rule,” says the DOL.

The decision also means that the DOL will receive additional input, review, and consideration from stakeholders such as small business owners and their advisors—including valuation analysts and ESOP appraisers. “Specifically, the agency anticipates revising provisions of the rule including, but not restricted to, clarifying that fiduciary advice is limited to individualized advice directed to specific parties, responding to concerns about the application of the regulation to routine appraisals and clarifying the limits of the rule's application to arm's length commercial transactions, such as swap transactions,” says the DOL. Also anticipated are exemptions related to current fee practices of advisers, such as those that have long permitted brokers to receive commissions in connection with mutual funds, stocks, and insurance products. “The agency will carefully craft new or amended exemptions that can best preserve beneficial fee practices, while at the same time protecting plan participants and individual retirement account owners from abusive practices and conflicted advice.”

Please let us know if you have any comments about this article or enhancements you would like to see.