Articles Tagged with Prohibited Transactions

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it has finalized the new “fiduciary rule” proposed during the Trump administration, creating a new exemption to the fiduciary standards that investment advisers must comply with when servicing ERISA accounts and IRAs Specifically, the new rule – Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2002-02 – creates an exception to ERISA’s prohibited transaction rules and similar rules under the Internal Revenue Code. The DOL issued a Fact Sheet summarizing the rule and its impact.

The new exemption grants investment advisers more latitude and in dealing with such accounts. The exemption applies to both SEC and state-registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, banks, insurance companies, and their employees, agents, and representatives that serve as investment advice fiduciaries. The exemption is slated to become effective February 16, 2021. Some have speculated, however, that the new Biden administration may withdraw the rule and pursue a more restrictive one similar to the 2016 exemption adopted during the Obama administration.

After the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down the Obama-era fiduciary rule in 2018, the DOL issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB 2018-02), that was a temporary policy that provided relief under the prohibited transaction rules to investment advice fiduciaries, provided they worked in good faith the follow the “impartial conduct standards” that had been codified in the vacated rule. The impartial conduct standards require that an adviser act in the client’s best interest, receive only reasonable compensation and refrain from misleading clients. The new final rules, designed to supersede FAB 2018-02, were proposed in June 2020. FAB 2018-02 will remain in effect for 365 days following the publication of the new rule in the Federal Register, while the exemption will become effective 60 days after publication. Continue reading ›

In late June, the U.S. Department of Labor reinstated the previous definition of “fiduciary investment advice” that was contained in its prohibited transactions rules prior to 2017. That definition was amended by the “Fiduciary Rule” that went into effect in 2017, but the new rule was ultimately struck down by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Because the DOL interprets the Fifth Circuit’s decision to have reinstated the original rule, it dispensed with the normal comment period and made the new rule effective immediately.

The original (now reinstated) definition was passed in 1975 and was applied consistently by the DOL and IRS until the 2017 Fiduciary Rule became effective, albeit temporarily.  The reinstated definition, being much narrower than the definition under the Fiduciary Rule, means that many fewer situations between plans and investment advisers will constitute “fiduciary investment advice” compared to the 2017 Fiduciary Rule and, consequently, the risk of engaging in a prohibited transaction is smaller.

Continue reading ›

Contact Information