The Department of Labor’s “Fiduciary Rule,” PTE 2020-02: The FAQs
- The DOL has issued FAQs that generally explain PTE 2020-02 and the expanded definition of fiduciary advice.
- In FAQ 16, the DOL discusses the requirements to have policies and procedures to mitigate conflicts of interest. The mitigation requirement applies to conflicts both at the firm level and at the investment professional level.
- The requirement is that the policies and procedures mitigate conflicts of interest “to the extent that a reasonable person reviewing the policies and procedures and incentives as a whole would conclude that they do not create an incentive for the firm or the investment professional to place their interests ahead of the interest of the retirement investor”.
- Best Interest #74 (Part 1) discussed the general requirements under FAQ 16 to mitigate conflicts of interest of both the financial institution and the investment professional. This post focuses on mitigation of the conflicts of the investment professional.
The DOL’s prohibited transaction exemption (PTE) 2020-02 (Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees), allows investment advisers, broker-dealers, banks, and insurance companies (“financial institutions”), and their representatives (“investment professionals”), to receive conflicted compensation resulting from non-discretionary fiduciary investment advice to ERISA retirement plans, participants (including rollover recommendations), and IRA owners (“retirement investors”). In addition, in the preamble to the PTE the DOL announced an expanded definition of fiduciary advice, meaning that many more financial institutions and investment professionals will be fiduciaries for their recommendations to retirement investors and, therefore, will need the protection provided by the exemption.