Benefits and Compensation

Survey Cites Service Providers’ Uncertainty Over Fiduciary Rule, Next Steps

By Jane Meacham

Retirement plan service providers likely will face the most need to change business models among those affected by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final fiduciary rule issued in early April. Although adoption of the regulation is more than a year away, many respondents to an industry survey quickly registered confusion, and a sizable number said they plan to adjust their fiduciary status.

The survey was conducted shortly after the final rule was released by the SPARK Institute Inc., a Connecticut-based national retirement advocacy group whose members provide retirement benefits to about 85 million plan participants. About a third of the 117 members responding were unsure whether they should change their fiduciary status in light of the new regulations, which toughen some standards for providers of defined contribution investment advice and products, SPARK said in a press release.

Fourteen percent of respondents to the survey said they will become a fiduciary for the first time under the new DOL regulations, while 23% said they would continue to be a fiduciary. An additional 30% said they planned to remain nonfiduciaries.

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