The US Department of Labor has released its package of proposed changes to the regulation defining fiduciary advice and to the exemptions for conflicts and compensation for investment advice to plans, participants (including rollovers), and IRAs (including transfers of IRAs).
- The Department of Labor’s proposed regulation defining fiduciary investment and insurance/annuity advice to private sector retirement plans, participants in those plans, and IRA owners (collectively, “retirement investors”) includes three distinct definitions.
- Those definitions are: discretionary investment management, non-discretionary investment advice, and acknowledgement of fiduciary status. In each of those cases, the person and the firm will be fiduciaries under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code for purposes of their investment recommendations and services to retirement investors.
- A new definition in the proposal, and one that is not likely to be controversial, is the third one….a person will be a fiduciary for investment recommendations if that person says that the person and/or the firm are acting as fiduciaries for the recommendation.
This post discusses the “fiduciary acknowledgement” definition of fiduciary investment advice in the DOL’s proposed fiduciary regulation. More specifically, the proposed regulation says that a person will be an ERISA and Code fiduciary if “The person making the recommendation represents or acknowledges that they are acting as a fiduciary when making investment recommendations.” (There will be future articles discussing “investment recommendations”, but for the moment, consider it to be a recommendation for a retirement investor to invest in securities, insurance or other property.)