On May 22, 2017 the DOL published Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2017-02 which announced a temporary enforcement policy related to the Department of Labor’s final rule defining who is a “fiduciary” under ERISA and the related prohibited transaction exemptions (PTEs).
The final rule, entitled “Definition of the Term ‘Fiduciary’; Conflict of Interest Rule — Retirement Investment Advice,” was published in the Federal Register on April 8, 2016, became effective on June 7, 2016, and had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017. The PTEs also had an original applicability date of April 10, 2017, with a phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018, for the BIC Exemption and the Principal Transactions Exemption. The applicability date was previously delayed from April 10, 2017 until June 9, 2017.
The temporary enforcement policy states that during the phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018, the Department will not pursue claims against fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions, or treat those fiduciaries as being in violation of the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions.1