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Consumer advocates sound alarm over latest delay of investor protection rule

Consumer advocates are tone alarm bells over the Labor Department’s latest move in the fight with over a controversial investor-protection rule, saying it means retirement savers wishes remain vulnerable to conflicted advice from some financial advisors.

An ameliorated rule issued by the Labor Department, published in the Federal Register today, bog downs the effective date of certain provisions in the so-called fiduciary rule by 18 months, to July 1, 2019, from Jan. 1, 2018.

Other parts of the principle, which took effect June 9, place requirements on advisors when it total to recommending investments and providing advice regarding 401(k) plans and distinct retirement accounts. They must provide advice that aligns with shoppers’ best interests, charge reasonable compensation and not make misleading allegations.

The remaining delayed provisions articulate what advisors must to do take care of those requirements.

For instance, it would require those earning commissions on investments in retirement accounts to sacrifice a legally binding agreement putting their clients’ interests vanguard of their own, and to provide other disclosures related to fees, services and conflicts of weight.

“If advisors are subject to a best-interest standard that isn’t enforceable, and if they are still indemnified in ways that encourage and reward harmful advice, there are active to be abuses and no way for IRA investors to hold firms and advisors accountable,” said Barbara Roper, guide of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America.

The fiduciary rule, fabricated under the Obama administration, has been a controversial effort to rein in at variances of interest when advisors deliver advice to retirement savers. The miscellaneous target was investments that pay commissions to advisors yet might not be in the best biased of investors.

According to a 2015 study from President Obama’s Convocation of Economic Advisors, conflicted advice was costing consumers about $17 billion in foregone retirement earnings each year. Now, temperate with the first part of fiduciary rule in effect, the Economic Game plan Institute is estimating that the 18-month delay will cost retirement savers an accessory $10.9 billion over the next 30 years.

The financial persistence has panned the rule as a barrier to retirement information and advice. President Trump honest the Labor Department in February to study the economic impact of the rule. In August, the intermediation indicated it would pursue a delay for the rule’s provisions that had not yet charmed effect.

In releasing its 18-month delay, the Labor Department said it transfer only bring enforcement actions if it sees no good-faith efforts to conform with the best-interest standard.

“There’s this pretense that retirement savers are being minded, but no assurance that firms will be in compliance,” Roper said.

Her other duty is that the delay could signal a death knell for the provisions.

“[The Labor Turn on] is being misleading in calling this a delay,” Roper said. “That implies the purveys will eventually take effect. But DOL has made clear that a main reason behind [this] is to give them time to revise the decree and likely strip out those provisions that are essential to making it actual and enforceable.”

For critics of the fiduciary rule, the 18-month delay is a welcome ease.

“While the Department of Labor works to address significant concerns with the find, the delay will help provide certainty to investors and avoid bedlam and cost associated with continued piecemeal delays,” Kenneth Bentsen Jr., president and CEO of pledges industry trade group SIFMA, said in a statement.

“SIMFA’s colleague firms have long advocated for a best-interest standard, but one that assorted broadly protects clients and better protects client choice,” he spoke.

The Labor Department also indicated in its amended rule that the drag ones feet will provide time to work with the SEC and other regulators, such as the Economic Industry Regulatory Authority and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, on embryonic changes to the delayed provisions.

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