These rules, referred to in the popular press as either the “Fiduciary Regulations” or the new DOL conflict of interest rules, are effective June 7, 2016, but the DOL agrees not to apply them until April 10, 2017. Many of the material changes to migrate to a “best interest contract” standard for investment advice will be made during a transition period between April 10, 2017 and January 1, 2018.
While the rules have little direct impact on employers who sponsor retirement plans—plan sponsors were generally fiduciaries of their plans before, and will remain so under the newest guidance—the new rules may cause sweeping changes in the way the financial industry provides services to retirement plans and participants. Those industry changes may be positive or negative, depending on a plan sponsor’s current service relationships and perspective.
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