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President Trump’s Labor Department will delay the implementation of a rule cracking down on conflicts of interest in retirement investing, the first step in reversing one of President Obama’s late-term priorities.

The Labor Department announced on Wednesday that it planned to delay by 60 days the start date of the “fiduciary rule,” giving it time to reassess the rule and scrutinize its financial and legal costs.

Originally slated to go into effect April 10, the rule would require that all investment advisers and brokers working with tax-privileged retirement accounts, such as Individual Retirement Accounts, are required to act in their clients’ best interests.

Obama and congressional liberals backed the rule as necessary to prevent some advisers from steering clients into inappropriate high-fee financial products in order to get kickbacks. Those conflicts of interest, the Obama White House claimed, cost people billions annually.

Yet Republicans have criticized the rule as overly burdensome, saying it would make it impossible for some middle-income savers and small businesses to access retirement advice.

“We commend the Department of Labor for its swift action to protect retirement savers by issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to delay the fiduciary rule, which will help ensure all Americans have access to the advice and choices needed when saving for their future,” said Thomas Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Trump demanded that the Labor Department review the rule as one of his first acts in office.


The agency, however, is still without a head. Trump’s original nominee, fast food executive Andy Puzder, withdrew from consideration in February. His replacement selection, law professor and former President George W. Bush appointee Alexander Acosta, has not yet been vetted by the Senate.

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03/01/17 9:56 AM



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