White House budget office OKs move to delay investor protection rule

  • Regulators want to put off some provisions until July 1, 2019.
  • Other portions of the controversial rule took effect June 9.
  • An economic-impact study remains underway.

Don't expect parts of the hotly debated investor protection rule to take effect any time soon.

The Office of Management and Budget on Monday approved a request by the Labor Department to delay implementation of remaining portions of the so-called fiduciary rule until July 1, 2019, rather than Jan. 1, 2018.

The last pieces of the rule facing a delay pertain to specific written disclosures from financial services firms. This includes the requirement that advisors earning commissions on investments in retirement accounts sign a legally binding agreement putting their clients' interests ahead of their own.

The Labor Department submitted its delay proposal earlier this month. Following Monday's approval, the Labor Department is now expected to issue a final rule allowing the postponement.

Other portions took effect June 9, including a requirement that financial advisors work in the best interest of clients when it comes to providing advice related to their retirement accounts, such as IRAs.

Supporters of the rule say it protects investors from higher-cost investments that benefit the advisor more than clients. Critics say compliance costs will end up pricing small investors out of the advice market.

The rule already has been undergoing an economic-impact review, which was ordered by President Donald Trump in February. It also remains in the crosshairs of congressional Republicans. Last month, a House committee approved a measure that would repeal the fiduciary rule and replace it with one allowing disclosures of potential conflicts of interest.