The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it will, once again, delay its proposal to redefine (and ultimately expand on) the term fiduciary as it relates to employee benefit plans.  Specifically, the DOL’s re-proposal of this rule, which the agency is calling Conflict of Interest Rule-Investment Advice, will now be issued in January of 2015. The DOL announced the updated timing on May 27 in its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda of Spring 2014.

The abstract for the rule proposal, contained in the agenda, provides that this rulemaking would reduce harmful conflicts of interest by amending the regulatory definition of the term fiduciary, to more broadly define as fiduciaries, employee benefits plans and individual retirement accounts those persons who render investment advice to plans and IRAs for a fee within the meaning of section 3(21) of [ERISA] and section 4975(e)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The amendment would take into account current practices of investment advisers, the expectations of plan officials and participants, IRA owners who receive investment advice, as well as changes that have occurred in the investment marketplace and the ways advisers are compensated that frequently subject advisers to harmful conflicts of interest.

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