Happy Friday PLANADVISER readers! It goes without saying that it has been a big week for the retirement plan advisory industry, with the long-awaited release of the Department of Labor’s final fiduciary rule coming Wednesday morning. The industry’s mostly positive reaction makes clear the serious compromises worked into the final rule language, compared with previous proposed versions from 2010 and 2015. Our weekend newsletter has all the information and analysis you need to get caught up on All Things Fiduciary.
Consumer groups were especially pleased with the final rule. Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president and director of policy at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said, “This common sense rule will ensure that when working Americans turn to financial professionals for help, they will get honest advice that’s in their best interest—not a self-serving sales pitch.”
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More than a few industry insiders and analysts have tipped their hats to DOL and Labor Secretary Perez for listening carefully to criticism and reshaping some of the most controversial elements of the new fiduciary rule.
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Low and middle-income Americans struggling to save for retirement are depending on the U.S. Senate to pass the SECURE Act, advocates say. At present, one roadblock seems to the law’s treatment of “stretch IRAs.”
Washington insiders say Senator Ted Cruz is probably the biggest roadblock to the SECURE Act being passed in the near-term under unanimous consent; among other issues, he wants the bill to allow people to use tax-advantaged 529 college savings accounts to pay for home school expenses.
A new IRS private letter ruling essentially conforms the tax treatment of properly structured advisory fees from non-qualified annuity contracts to those paid out of qualified accounts, which typically are not treated as taxable distributions.
There is precious little time remaining for the proposal and adoption of any new advisory industry conflict of interest rules that the DOL hopes to make effective during this presidential administration.