The Department of Labor’s “Fiduciary Rule,” PTE 2020-02 (Part 14): The Two Compensation Requirements: Reasonable Compensation and Mitigation
This series focused on the DOL’s new fiduciary “rule”. This post is the 14th in a subseries discussing special or unique compliance issues related to the rule. This article looks at the issues related to complying with the rule’s reasonable compensation and mitigation requirements, with particular emphasis on broker-dealers and investment advisers.
On February 16, 2021, the DOL’s prohibited transaction exemption (PTE) 2020-02 became effective. (Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees) It 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 retirement plans, participants and IRA owners (“retirement investors”).
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 and therefore will need the protections afforded by the exemption. They will also need to satisfy the best interest standard of care. The relief provided by the exemption is conditional, that is, the “conditions” in the exemption must be satisfied to obtain relief from the prohibited transaction rules in ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. For the period from February 16 until December 20, a DOL and IRS non-enforcement policy based on the Impartial Conduct Standards will be available.