On September 19, 2011, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced it will re-propose it’s rule on the definition of a fiduciary. The rule was proposed to protect business owners who offer retirement plans and those who invest in these retirement plans and IRAs. The proposed rule defined a fiduciary as giving investment advice to an employee benefit plan or a plan’s participants and imposed a number of duties “including a duty of undivided loyalty, a duty to act for the exclusive purposes of providing plan benefits and defraying reasonable expenses of administering the plan, and a stringent duty of care.”
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) submitted comments on this proposed rule because it would have required appraisers to have a fiduciary responsibility to retirement plans in cases where the plan is involved in the purchase or investment of real property. NAR argued that appraisers are required to be independent and should not be considered a fiduciary. Yesterday’s announcement states that the agency is revising provisions of the rule including the application of the regulation to appraisers.