The DOL recently dismissed its appeal of an earlier ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (the Court) invalidating part of the DOL’s guidance regarding application of its fiduciary duty to rollover recommendations. The guidance was in the form of an FAQ issued in connection with PTE 2020-02 that explained how a recommendation to roll over retirement assets from a plan to an IRA at the beginning of an ongoing relationship could still be subject to ERISA and/or Code fiduciary duties.
Whether an individual is providing fiduciary investment advice under ERISA or the Code is determined by the DOL’s five-part test set forth in its 1975 regulation. Generally, an individual will be deemed to be rendering fiduciary investment advice if: 1) the individual renders advice to a plan or IRA as to the value of, or advisability of investing in, securities or other property; 2) on a regular basis; 3) pursuant to a mutual agreement with the plan or IRA; 4) that the advice will serve as a primary basis for investment decisions with respect to plan or IRA assets; and 5) that the advice will be individualized based on the needs of the plan or IRA.
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