Despite the DOL Fiduciary Rule’s Uncertain Future Under the Trump Administration, Managers Should Continue Preparing for Its April 2017 Implementation (Part Two of Two)

As part of his first 100 days in office, President Donald J. Trump has set his sights on easing some of the existing regulations in the financial sector to ostensibly allow it to flourish. To that end, he issued a presidential memorandum on February 3, 2017 (Presidential Memorandum), ordering the Department of Labor to review the fiduciary duty rule (DOL Fiduciary Rule). This review may lead to a reevaluation of who or what should be officially classified as a fiduciary, with all the legal obligations that classification entails, and may spur a dialogue between regulators and the funds sector. Although legal experts disagree as to the likelihood of the DOL Fiduciary Rule’s ultimate survival, its defeat is far from a fait accompli. Those potentially subject to the DOL Fiduciary Rule can and should continue revising their practices, documents and disclosures where appropriate. This two-part series evaluates the recent orders issued by the Trump administration that target the financial industry, including insights from attorneys specializing in financial regulations, employment and labor law, so that fund managers can respond accordingly. This second article in the series considers the potential ramifications of the proposed changes to the DOL Fiduciary Rule and their impact on hedge fund managers. The first article summarized the Trump administration’s executive order, entitled “Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System,” which detailed the financial sector policies of the new administration. For more on how protecting retirement investors has recently been an SEC priority, see “OCIE 2017 Examination Priorities Illustrate Continued Focus on Conflicts of Interest; Branch Offices; Advisers Employing Bad Actors; Oversight of FINRA; Use of Data Analytics; and Cybersecurity” (Jan. 26, 2017); and “SEC Division Heads Enumerate OCIE Priorities, Including Cybersecurity, Fees, Bad Actors and Never-Before Examined Hedge Fund Managers (Part One of Two)” (Apr. 28, 2016).`

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