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SEC ponders public comments as fiduciary rule takes root with overseers

Joe Mont | June 27, 2017

The first batch of letters, intended to help guide the Securities and Exchange Commission’s formulation of a fiduciary duty rule, are in—and they cover fairly predictable ground. Less predictable: tougher standards may be on the way from a non-regulator.

In April 2016, the Labor Department finalized a new rule that creates a fiduciary duty for brokers and registered investment advisers who offer retirement advice. In broad terms, without granted exceptions, fiduciaries are prohibited from receiving commissions, which are considered to present a conflict of interest.

In February, President Trump ordered the Labor Department to prepare an updated economic and legal analysis, a likely prelude to rescinding or revising the rule. While that review is underway, an initial batch of compliance obligations began on June 9.

Just prior to those first compliance deadlines, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton opened a public comment period that may empower his Commission to either...

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