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Will Brokers and Investment Advisors Still Be Subject to the Labor Department's Fiduciary Rule?

This spring, the U.S. Labor Department set new rules that hold investment advisors to the very highest standard of conduct for their advice to retirement accounts.

And just last week, Judge Randolph Moss, an influential federal judge in Washington, D.C.., upheld the new "fiduciary rule" for retirement account advisors in a carefully reasoned 92-page decision.

The plaintiffs in that case, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, announced this week that they intended to seek to appeal that decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals, the second most influential court in the country. If successful, the association of investment advisors could overturn those rules. The association said it would seek an expedited review.

The day after the investment advisors' announcement, of course, Donald J. Trump was elected president. Since then, his transition team has leaked a number of areas of regulation they intend to roll back. At the top of their list is financial regulation, especially the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

If true, it would be even easier for the Trump administration to speed its rulemaking power to scrap the Labor Deparment's fiduciary rule for investment advisors for retirement accounts.

Whether it is overturned on appeal or scrapped by the next administration, it appears the Labor Department's fiduciary rule is on fragile legs.

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