- President Donald Trump's nomination of E. Preston Rutledge as head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) could put the fiduciary rule back in the spotlight, BenefitsPRO reports. EBSA oversees the government’s policy on workplace retirement and healthcare.
- Rutledge, once a top congressional aide, served on the U.S. Senate's Finance Committee in 2011 as a tax and benefits specialist. He has drafted retirement and tax policy and is credited with being a major architect of the Retirement Enhancement Savings Act and the Secure Annuities for Employee Retirement Act.
- The White House has ordered DOL to review the fiduciary rule, delaying implementation of some of its key provisions until 2019. According to BenefitsPRO, Rutledge once said that the fiduciary rule expanded DOL’s authority over the markets, referring to consumers’ investments.
When the White House ordered DOL to review the fiduciary rule and delay its enactment, the regulation was temporarily shelved until 2019. If Rutledge’s nomination is confirmed, his previously stated belief that the rule gave DOL undue power over the markets could mean more pressure to put the rule to rest.
It's debatable whether or not deregulation, regardless of the merits of the fiducliary rule itself, will lead to cost savings for employers in the short term. One survey has put the dollar amount of compliance costs for U.S. businesses after every regulatory change at a staggering $100,000.
Employers don’t have any immediate compliance concerns with respect to the rule, but they should still protect employees in retirement plans from unscrupulous financial advisers and brokers. Employers who choose not to risk becoming liable for misconduct if plan participants are victimized.