DOL to Revise Definition of Benefit Plan "Fiduciary"

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On September 19, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its intention to revise and re-propose amendments to its definition of “fiduciary.” The new proposal is expected to be issued in early 2012.

Background. The regulations issued under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) define the term “fiduciary” to include any person who provides investment advice with respect to assets of the plan for a fee. If an investment advice provider is considered a fiduciary for ERISA purposes, then such provider is then subject to increased ERISA compliance obligations primarily related to avoiding prohibiting transactions and satisfying heightened fiduciary duties.

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