DOL Fiduciary Rule: Impact on Retirement Plan Sponsors, Plan Advisers and Service Providers

Navigating the Expanded Definition of Investment Advice, Qualifying for Exclusions or Exemptions, Compliance, and Implementation

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, September 28, 2017

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide employee benefits counsel in understanding the practical implications of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final fiduciary rule for retirement plan sponsors, plan advisers, service providers and other key groups. Employee benefits expert Marcia S. Wagner of The Wagner Law Group will examine the expanded definition of investment advice, exclusions from the definition, the best interest contract exemption, and other exemptions, compliance and implementation strategies and more.


The DOL’s fiduciary rule went into full effect on June 9 while related exemptions were partially effective on that date. Full implementation of the prohibited transaction exemptions is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2018. The rule expands the definition of “investment advice,” resulting in several entities being deemed fiduciaries that were not previously designated as such. Under the rule, essentially any recommendation made to a plan or its participants to take a particular course of action is considered fiduciary advice.

In addition, recommendations to take a rollover from a plan and guidance on how to invest rollover assets as well as the selection of investment managers and investment account arrangements are considered fiduciary advice under the new rule.

There are several exclusions from the fiduciary definition outlined in the rule. If a provider satisfies the conditions of an exclusion, it will not be deemed a fiduciary, even when providing investment-related recommendations to retirement clients. The Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE), considered the centerpiece of the DOL’s rulemaking, allows fiduciary advisers to continue receiving variable compensation, subject to certain conflict of interest constraints.

Benefits counsel must understand the impact of the rule and related exemptions on retirement plan sponsors, advisers and service providers to advise their clients on compliance and implementation best practices.

Listen as attorney Marcia S. Wagner, an expert in a variety of employee benefits issues, explains the key features of the DOL’s fiduciary rule and related exemptions, their anticipated impact, and what benefits counsel should do now to ensure that their clients are prepared to comply with the requirements.



  1. New fiduciary advice definition
  2. Exclusions from fiduciary advice definition
  3. BIC exemption
  4. BIC compliance standards
  5. Grandfathered transactions
  6. Plan sponsor issues
  7. Fiduciary exclusions for sponsors
  8. Compliance planning
  9. Implementation
  10. Update: DOL’s mandated review of fiduciary rule and related exemptions and Request for Information
    1. Possible modifications of BICE
    2. Potential additional exemption for clean shares
    3. Coordination with SEC


Ms. Wagner will review these and other key issues:

  • The effective dates of the rule’s various provisions
  • Unpacking the new definition of investment advice and its exclusions
  • The exemptions from the rule, including the best interest contract exemption
  • Impact on plan sponsors
  • Possible revisions to DOL guidance, including modifications of BICE and other exemptions, additional exemption for clean shares and coordination with the SEC on a uniform fiduciary standard


Wagner, Marcia
Marcia S. Wagner

Managing Director
Wagner Law Group

Ms. Wagner is recognized as an expert in a variety of employee benefits issues and executive compensation matters,...  |  Read More

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