What’s Going to Happen With the Fiduciary Rule?

By Nevin Adams • November 21, 2016 • 0 Comments
Anyone who tells you they know what will happen with the fiduciary rule is probably… well, let’s just say they probably don’t. Here’s our current assessment…

First, while the DOL fiduciary rule is on a list of recent regulations to review, it is currently not on the list of regulations designated for immediate action by the Trump administration. After all, while some of his advisors have weighed in on the matter, President-Elect Trump himself has not directly spoken about the DOL fiduciary rule.

The current thinking, at least now, is that unless President-Elect Trump addresses the issue himself, which is not seen as likely given the other matters demanding attention, the Trump administration will want to wait for the Secretary of Labor nominee to make a determination. Not only is there no current indication as to who that individual would be, it also seems unlikely that that individual would weigh in publicly on the fiduciary regulation prior to their confirmation, since it could introduce an element of controversy into that process – and a possible filibuster.

Legislative Relief?

Those anticipating legislative relief might be inclined to draw some comfort from recent statements by Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) that the House might once again take up the issue. However, while such a measure would likely sail through the House, it would almost certainly face procedural challenges (and a potential filibuster) in the Senate.

The legal challenges are still active, of course, and while one has come down in favor of the Labor Department, several others remain pending. If one (or more) of those cases holds the other way, we’d have the split in the federal districts that would lay the groundwork for a Supreme Court review. However, the odds of that occurring prior to the April 10 implementation date for the rule seem remote at best.

At present then, it does not appear we are going to get a clear immediate indication of what, if anything is going to be done about the DOL fiduciary rule. We are, of course, in something of a “fluid” environment, and things could certainly change.

To that end, we will certainly keep you posted as we learn more.