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Game Changers: The DOL and SEC Fiduciary Rules

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary (or “conflict of interest”) rule, issued in final form April 6, 2016, was a package of rules and exemptions aimed at curbing perceived abuses by advisors. Subsequently, On June 21, 2018, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals vacated the rule. It is not being enforced by the DOL.

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a package of rules and forms establishing a new fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisors. The SEC initially proposed that rules package in April 2018.

On June 29, 2020, the Department of Labor proposed a new prohibited transaction class exemption that would be available for investment advice fiduciaries.

On Dec. 15, 2020, the Department of Labor issued the prohibited transaction exemption in final form.

Below you’ll find links to the DOL and SEC fiduciary rules, as well as other agency guidance, court decisions, ARA testimony and comment letters, and other recommended resources. In addition, browse the Regulatory Compliance or Regulatory Agencies topic pages for our news coverage and analysis of the DOL and SEC fiduciary rules.

Updated Feb. 11, 2022

SEC Materials

June 5, 2019 Final Rule Package

April 18, 2018 Proposed Rule Package

DOL Regulations and Guidance

April 2021 FAQs 

December 2020 final rule: “Improving Investment Advice for Workers and Retirees” 

June 2020 Proposed Rule Package

Field Assistance Bulletin 2018-02: Temporary Enforcement Policy on Prohibited Transaction Rules Applicable to Invest Advice Fiduciaries (2 pages, May 7, 2018)

18-Month Extension of Transition Period and Delay of Applicability Dates (Nov. 29, 2017)

Field Assistance Bulletin 2017-03: Enforcement Policy on Arbitration Limitation in the BICE and Principal Transactions Exemption (2 pages, Aug. 30, 2017)

Extension of Transition Period and Delay of Applicability Dates (19 pages, Aug. 30, 2017)

Conflict of Interest FAQs (408b-2 Disclosure Transition Period, Recommendations to Increase Contributions and Plan Participation) (6 pages, August 2017)

Conflict-of-Interest FAQs (Transition Period) (11 pages, May 2017)

Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2017-02: Temporary Enforcement Policy on Fiduciary Duty Rule (May 22, 2017)

60-Day Delay in Applicability Date (63 pages, April 5, 2017)

Field Assistance Bulletin 2017-01: Temporary Enforcement Policy on Fiduciary Duty Rule (3 pages, March 10, 2017)

Proposed Rule: 60-Day Extension of Applicability Date (31 pages, March 1, 2017)

EBSA’s Proposed Best Interest Contract Exemption for Insurance Intermediaries (220 pages, Jan. 19, 2017)

Conflict of Interest FAQs (Part II – Rule) (17 pages, Jan. 13, 2017)

Consumer Protections for Retirement Investors — FAQs on Your Rights and Financial Advisers (16 pages, Jan. 13, 2017)

Conflict of Interest Exemptions FAQs (24 pages, Oct. 27, 2016)

DOL Corrections to Best Interest Contract Exemption (48 pages, July 11, 2016)

DOL Corrections to Class Exemption for Principal Transactions in Certain Assets between Investment Advice Fiduciaries and Employee Benefit Plans and IRAs (32 pages, July 11, 2016)

Final Regulation (208 pages, April 6, 2016)

Best Interest Contract Exemption (317 pages, April 6, 2016)

Class Exemption for Principal Transactions Between Investment Advice Fiduciaries and Employee Benefit Plans and IRAs (192 pages, April 6, 2016)

Amendment to PTE 84-24: Transactions Involving Insurance Agents and Brokers, Pension Consultants, Insurance Companies, and Investment Company Principal Underwriters (117 pages, April 6, 2016)

Amendment and Partial Revocation of PTE 86-128: Transactions Involving Broker-Dealers; DOL Amendment and Partial Revocation of PTE 75-1: Transactions Involving Broker-Dealers, Reporting Dealers and Banks (105 pages, April 6, 2016)

Amendment to PTE 75-1: Prohibitions Respecting Certain Transactions Involving Certain Broker-Dealers, Reporting Dealers and Banks (30 pages, April 6, 2016)

Amendments to PTEs 75-1, 77-4, 80-83 and 83-1 (30 pages, April 6, 2016)


Unpacking the Fiduciary Rule podcast (Nevin Adams and Fred Reish, April 19, 2021)

Comparing the Standard of Conduct: Broker-Dealers vs. Investment Advisers (Faegre Drinker, Aug. 10, 2020)

The DOL's Fiduciary Rule PTE May Only Be Needed in Limited Plan Circumstances (Bob Toth, July 13, 2020)

DOL Fiduciary Rule (Eversheds Sutherland resource center)


2022 Report on FINRA's Examination and Risk Monitoring Program (February 2022)

FINRA Regulatory Notice 18-13, Quantitative Suitability (April 20, 2018)

Affordable Retirement Advice for Savers Act (H.R. 2823) Committee Report (98 pages, Oct. 25, 2017)

The DOL Fiduciary Rule: A study on how financial institutions have responded and the resulting impacts on retirement investors (Deloitte, Aug. 9, 2017)

Presidential Memorandum on Fiduciary Rule (Feb. 3, 2017)

White House memo to agencies: Regulatory Freeze Pending Review (3 pages, Jan. 20, 2017)

Expert Opinions on the DOL Fiduciary Regulation Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 (August 2016)
In this four-part series, four of the nation’s leading ERISA legal experts – former Assistant Secretary of Labor Brad Campbell (now with Drinker Biddle & Reath), Groom Law’s David Levine, Marcia Wagner of the Wagner Law Group, and Fred Reish of Drinker Biddle & Reath – weigh in on the DOL’s fiduciary regulation and its impact(s).

“Interesting Angles on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule”
An ongoing series of insightful blog posts from ERISA attorney Fred Reish.

“Game Changer, Revisited” (Pete Swisher, Pentegra; April 2016)

White House Factsheet (April 6, 2016)


Federation of Americans for Consumer Choice, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor (Feb. 2, 2022)

XY Planning Network, LLC v. SEC, 2nd Circuit decision (June 26, 2020)

5th Circuit’s Mandate Vacating Chamber of Commerce v. DOL (June 21, 2018)

5th Circuit’s Denial of Motions to Intervene in Chamber of Commerce v. DOL by AARP and California, New York and Oregon (May 2, 2018)

Motion to Intervene in Chamber of Commerce v. DOL by California, New York and Oregon (April 26, 2018)

Petition for En Banc Rehearing of Chamber of Commerce v. DOL by California, New York and Oregon (April 26, 2018)

AARP Motion to Intervene in Chamber of Commerce v. DOL (April 26, 2018)

Chamber of Commerce v. DOL (March 15, 2018)

Mkt. Synergy Grp., Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t. of Labor (March 13, 2018)

Thrivent Fin. for Lutherans v. Acosta (Nov. 3, 2017)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Hugler (Feb. 8, 2017)

Opinion in NAFA v. Perez (Nov. 4, 2016)

DOL Motion in NAFA Case (July 8, 2016)

DOL Motion to Consolidate Cases (June 17, 2016)

Market Synergy Group, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Labor (June 8, 2016)

Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, et al. v. Perez (June 8, 2016)

ACLI, NAIFA, et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor (June 8, 2016)

The National Association for Fixed Annuities v. Perez (June 2, 2016)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. Perez (June 1, 2016)

Testimony and Comment Letters

ARA Comment Letter on DOL's June 2020 Proposed Rule (5 pages, Aug. 6, 2020)

ARA Response to RFI Regarding the Fiduciary Rule and PTEs (12 pages, July 18, 2017)

Morningstar Comments on Fiduciary Rule Examination (6 pages, April 13, 2017)

American Retirement Association Comment Letter on Best Interest Contract Exemption (9 pages, April 17, 2017)

American Retirement Association Comment Letter on Proposed Extension of Applicability Date (4 pages, March 15, 2017)

American Retirement Association Testimony (5 pages, Aug. 12, 2015)

American Retirement Association Comment Letter (29 pages, July 20, 2015)