Labor Department to delay controversial investment adviser rule

"You're not going to see anything in October because we're not finished," Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis Borzi said at a summit on Tuesday, according to InvestmentNews. "We're trying very hard to make sure we've crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's." 

ADVERTISEMENT
The so-called “fiduciary rule” has been in the works for years. It would expand the legal definition of the term “fiduciary” for investment advisers, as a way to make sure brokers aren’t profiting at the expense of their clients’ retirement funds.

But lawmakers and the financial services industry have warned that it would saddle investment advisers with unnecessary restrictions and make it harder for them to work with the average investor’s Individual Retirement Account (IRA). It might have a disproportionate effect on minority and disadvantaged communities, members of the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucus have worried.

Lawmakers have also been concerned about a potential overlap between the Labor Department regulation and other rules under consideration at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). A bill that passed the House Financial Services Committee in June would slow the Labor Department’s rule-making until after the SEC finalizes its work.

The Labor Department first proposed a version of the rule in 2010 but withdrew it after criticism heated up from the financial industry.

According to reports, Borzi also indicated at the Financial Services Institute's Financial Advisor Summit that the new rule will not prevent financial advisors from being paid on a commission basis, as opposed to fees, as some critics had feared.