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DOL Releases Fiduciary Rule Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has issued guidance on fiduciary investment advice for retirement investors, employee benefit plans and investment advice providers. 

The guidance relates to the department’s “Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees” exemption and follows its Feb. 12, 2021, announcement that that exemption would go into effect as scheduled on Feb. 16, 2021.

The guidance is in the form of two documents. The first, “Choosing the Right Person to Give You Investment Advice: Information for Investors in Retirement Plans and Individual Retirement Accounts,” includes questions a retirement investor can ask when interviewing potential advice providers, background information to help them understand the purpose of each question, and investor-focused frequently asked questions about the exemption.

The second is a set of compliance-focused frequently asked questions — with guidance for investment advice providers who are relying, or planning to rely, on the exemption. That document can be accessed here.  

Both guidance documents are limited to the application of federal retirement laws to advice concerning investments in plans covered by ERISA, such as 401(k) plans, and the Internal Revenue Code, such as IRAs.

It’s worth noting that the DOL says it is “continuing to review issues of fact, law and policy related to the exemption, and more generally, its regulation of fiduciary investment advice.”

We’ll have more on the particulars of the guidance soon.