The U.S. Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule: How Does It Affect You?

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By Marie Dzanis

Under the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule, financial services providers are required to acknowledge fiduciary status for themselves and their advisors when giving retirement advice.

The rule presents sweeping changes for the money management industry. Smaller advisory firms currently relying on third-party fees and commissions for the lion’s share of their revenue could be heavily affected by the compliance costs. Larger firms, on the other hand, may actually see their bottom line improve. If you haven’t already done so, we recommend you start talking with your existing client base, embrace a technology-supported workflow system and consider segmenting your client base to clarify the necessary next steps.


The U.S. Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule, the first financial advisory regulatory effort in more than 40 years, was released April 6, 2016. After six years in development plus a lengthy commentary period that encompassed a wide range of stakeholders, the resulting rule is being met with some mixed reviews and a fair amount of caution, but with largely positive pronouncements from several key lawmakers, investment bankers and many established and successful financial advisors.

As communicated by the Department, the rule’s mission is straightforward: Require more retirement investment advisors to put their clients’ best interests first, by expanding the types of retirement investment advice covered by fiduciary protections.

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