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DOL Nominee Says He’ll Review Fiduciary Rule

March 23, 2017

If confirmed, president Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Labor would follow the presidential memorandum directing the agency to review its fiduciary rule, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Alexander Acosta said in his Senate confirmation hearing yesterday that he would follow the “executive action” based on the specific guidelines for the reevaluation of the rule, according to the paper. Those guidelines require the DOL to assess whether the rule would limit the number of investment options available to retirement savers, whether the rule would cause more litigation and whether retiree investors would be affected financially, the Journal writes.

The rule, originally scheduled to be implemented April 10, seeks to hold retirement brokers to a fiduciary standard, which is more stringent than the current suitability standard currently in place, purportedly by requiring brokers to put clients’ interests first. When asked by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — a fierce supporter of the rule — whether he’s committed to protecting American investors, Acosta replied that it’s important to protect American retirees, particularly as they shift from 401(k)s to individual retirement accounts, the Journal writes.

Alexander Acosta (Getty)

Acosta, a former National Labor Relations Board member who’s already held three Republican-confirmed posts, is Trump’s second pick to head the Labor Department. Unlike Trump’s original choice, Andrew Puzder, who withdrew his nomination in response to Republican opposition, Acosta will likely get confirmed without much resistance, the Hill writes.

The rule faces strong opposition from Republican lawmakers and several influential industry groups.

Following Trump’s February memorandum, the DOL has proposed a 60-day delay of the rule. The comment period for the proposal closed Friday. In case a decision to delay the rule isn’t reached in time before the scheduled implementation date, the DOL has already issued a temporary policy that essentially lets advisors off the hook in the interim.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the The Hill article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the Wall Street Journal article cited in this story, click here.