EBIA Weekly Newsletter

DOL Finalizes Regulations and Related Exemptions on ERISA Fiduciary Definition and Conflicts of Interest in Investment Advice

   April 7, 2016

Definition of the Term “Fiduciary”; Conflict of Interest Rule—Retirement Investment Advice, 29 CFR Parts 2509 and 2510, 81 Fed. Reg. __ (Apr. 8, 2016)

Regulations and Related Exemptions

White House Fact Sheet

DOL Fact Sheet

Treasury Statement

Chart of Changes


The DOL has finalized much-discussed regulations regarding who is an ERISA fiduciary when providing investment advice to a retirement or other employee benefit plan or plan participants, as well as related prohibited transaction exemptions. The guidance also affects individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). The regulations were proposed in April 2015 (see our Checkpoint article) to update 1975 regulations for today’s marketplace by expanding the types of advice and circumstances that would result in ERISA fiduciary status. The 2015 proposed rules followed a vigorous public debate of an earlier proposal released in 2010. (For a discussion of the 2010 proposal, see our Checkpoint article.) The final regulations and related exemptions will be published in the April 8, 2016 Federal Register. In addition to the final regulations and exemptions, the DOL has issued a fact sheet, a chart summarizing the changes, and a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs). The White House and Treasury have also issued statements.

We will cover this development in next week’s EBIA Weekly. Meanwhile, for background information, see EBIA’s 401(k) Plans manual at Sections XXIV.B (“Determining Fiduciary Status”) and XXIV.M (“Exemptions to Prohibited Transactions”); see also EBIA’s Consumer Driven Health Care manual at Section XVI.D.2 (“Who Is a ‘Fiduciary’ With Respect to an HSA?”).

Contributing Editors: EBIA Staff.