This week’s news that President-Elect Donald Trump would name Andy Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, as Secretary of the Department of Labor answered weeks of speculation in the retirement plan services industry. The fate of the fiduciary rule rests largely in the hands of the next DOL chief—and whoever is subsequently named leader of the Employee Benefits Security Administration. It is still unclear how the CEO of a company known for operating the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. burger brands will view the complex and controversial regulation, but we will likely soon find out.
There has been a marked proliferation of defined contribution plans in which individuals take on much more responsibility around saving for retirement. The spirit of the fiduciary rule is to ensure that plan participants and plan sponsors get the best possible advice in this challenging new environment.
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One early commentator tells PLANADVISER he expects the new DOL fiduciary rule will still be implemented, yet there is undoubtedly a new atmosphere of uncertainty with the presidential election result.
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The latest decision out of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals throws a dramatic new element of confusion into the epic regulatory saga that has been the rollout of the Department of Labor fiduciary rule.
Some ERISA attorneys argue the Fifth Circuit decision last week to vacate entirely the DOL’s fiduciary rule expansion makes a Supreme Court decision on the matter inevitable; others are less sure that a decisive SCOTUS decision could be forthcoming, instead expecting the SEC to take the lead; still others admit they have little idea how the regulatory picture will shake out, recommending patience and ongoing compliance.
In an exclusive interview with PLANADVISER, PGIM Head of Institutional Defined Contribution Josh Cohen offers some guidance to advisers speaking with plan sponsors about litigation, fiduciary risk and progressive plan design.