Although opponents won a victory in the battle, the war is far from over. In fact, the most controversial aspect of the original rule — including IRAs — will return when the agency issues a revised regulation early next year.“IRAs will continue to be part of the re-proposed rule,” Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi wrote in an e-mail. “The rule is designed to provide the strongest possible protections to business owners and retirement savers in plans and IRAs.”
The department argues that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known as ERISA, must be updated to ensure that advisers act in the best interests of workers and retirees as they build their retirement nest eggs — often working on their own through 401(k)s and IRAs.
Critics said that the proposed rule was too expansive and would subject broker-dealer IRA advisers to fiduciary duty for the first time. They said it would curtail commissions, raise compliance and liability costs and drive broker-dealers out of the IRA market, thus limiting small investors’ access to IRA advice.
This debate will continue until the DOL wins. There will be a fiduciary standard for retirement plans as well as IRAs.
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