DOL Pushing to Finalize ‘Conflict of Interest’ Rule by May 2016
The Department of Labor intends to finalize its re-proposed rule
defining a fiduciary in May of next year, Groom Law Group Chairman Steve Saxon said on June 8. Saxon made his remarks at the SPARK Institute’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.
That timing is fueled by political considerations
. According to ThinkAdvisor, Saxon told attendees that the administration seeks to make sure that the rule is issued in final form and in place before a new administration begins on Jan. 20, 2017.
The DOL announced on May 15 that it would extend the comment period
on the proposal by 15 days from 75 to 90 days. Public hearings are to take place during the week of Aug. 10, and then a new period of public comment will ensue until approximately two weeks after the hearing transcript is published. This could add 30 to 45 days to the time in which public comments on the proposal can be offered.
Saxon reportedly told attendees that DOL is unlikely to issue yet another draft of the proposed regulations after the hearings. This is because it could lengthen the process and create the possibility that the rule may not be promulgated in final form and put in place before the next administration — which may decide to pull the proposed rule.
DOL final action may not be the end of the story, however — Saxon said that members of Congress may mount an effort later this year to deny funding to implement the proposal.