On Feb. 3, President Trump signed an executive order delaying by 180 days the implementation of the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule, which specifies that financial advisers, consultants, brokers and agents who sell or offer advice on retirement products, such as IRAs or a 401(k) programs, must be able to prove that they acted in their clients' best interests. The rule was scheduled to be phased in starting April 2017. This action includes instructions for the DOL to carry out an "economic and legal analysis" on the rule's potential impact. For full details on the rule, click here
The rule was expected to affect incentive programs sponsored by financial and insurance firms; a joint statement released last March by Financial & Insurance Conference Planners and SITE, the association that represents incentive travel professionals, noted that "financial-services firms will likely be forced to eliminate certain incentives or significantly change compensation structures" because of the new requirement.
A reduction of regulations might be a welcome measure for planners of incentive programs, according to Melissa Van Dyke, president of the Incentive Research Foundation, but she notes that "changes like this, especially as everyone was prepared for the changes in April 2017, cause a great deal of additional labor to understand implementation implications."
She points to a recent IRF survey that showed that 58 percent of respondents said government regulations were making it more difficult to design and reward recognition programs; of the 25 percent of respondents who noted they had ended a program for some reason, several pointed to DOL or regulatory challenges.