Congressional Pressure Is Building For Fiduciary Redefinition

Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:38
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Congressional Pressure Is Building For Fiduciary Redefinition

Tags: Congress | fiduciaries | regulation

The Department of Labor (DOL) is feeling Congressional heat on the length of time it is taking to redefine fiduciary duty. Its collaboration with the SEC, timing of the redefinition, and the inclusion of IRA accounts under the fiduciary umbrella are top areas of concern. Congress has the view that businesses need to know what to do.

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At the same time, there is great interest in having the redefinition process completed appropriately. The DOL has indicated it may publish a proposed redefinition in May. Yet the SEC has no specified date on when it may publish its proposed version.
 
The collection of data and commentary from industry groups is also an issue. Included in those groups is the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) which is the primary architect for the redefinition. The EBSA is trying to determine the impact that including IRA oversight in the definition would have on conflicts of interest between advisors and clients who own IRAs.
 
The goal is a single standard. Coordinating multiple agencies as well as industry firms subject to the standard is a complicated task but it is one that is progressing.  The final result may also include a list of prohibited transaction exemptions.

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