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White House Orders Call For Examination of Fiduciary Rule and Dodd-Frank Provisions

An executive order targeting the DOL Fiduciary Rule asked the Department of Labor to undertake an examination to determine whether the rule may adversely affect the ability of Americans to gain access to retirement information and financial advice. According to the document, if DOL determines that the rule is inconsistent with the order’s established priorities, the agency “shall publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the Rule, as appropriate and as consistent with law.” The Fiduciary Rule becomes effective in April; however, DOL stated that it is considering its options for delaying implementation. Similarly, an executive action asking the Secretary of the Treasury to examine existing financial regulations is expected to lead to a rollback of Dodd-Frank provisions. According to a Wall Street Journal report, complying with a Dodd-Frank overhaul could open the SEC up to legal challenges and further slow the SEC’s rule amendment process. The report noted that the SEC does not itself have the authority to revoke Dodd-Frank but can offer relief through rule amendments and exemptions, subject to judicial review. SEC Acting-Chairman Michael Piwowar separately issued a statement calling for review of a Dodd-Frank provision that requires public companies to disclose the ratio of the median of the annual total compensation of all employees to the annual total compensation of the CEO. Piwowar’s statement called for public comments on “any unexpected challenges that issuers have experienced as they prepare for compliance with the rule and whether relief is needed.”  Piwowar also stated that SEC staff has been directed to reconsider implementation of the rule based on comments received.