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Judge to decide anti-DoL fiduciary lawsuit next week

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A federal judge expects to issue a ruling next week on a lawsuit seeking to stop the implementation of the fiduciary rule.

Chief Judge Barbara Lynn told the parties she'll make a decision on the case no later than Feb. 10, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

It's one of several possible ways that the Department of Labor regulation could be overturned. Many industry insiders also anticipate that President Trump could delay the implementation of the rule, and ultimately replace it.

Pressure on the president to act is mounting.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) recently introduced a bill to delay implementation of the rule by two years. And Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) issued a letter to the president asking him to immediately delay implementation

"There has been a wave of uncertainty since the announcement of this rule. The longer we wait to act, the more devastating the impact will be on financial planners and key stakeholders," Sessions said in a statement.

He is chairman of the House Committee on Rules.

Fiduciary advocates, however, are preparing for a prolonged fight to maintain a higher standard of care. The CFP Board, which has been a strong supporter of the Labor Department's efforts, said defending the rule was a top priority.

The lawsuit, which is pending in federal court in Dallas, was filed last June by several industry lobbying groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, SIFMA and FSI. Spokespersons for the chamber and SIFMA could not be reached for immediate comment. A spokesman for FSI declined to discuss the case.

Among other objections to the rule, the plaintiffs say it unfairly curbs brokers' freedom of speech.

Should they win their lawsuit, it would upend nearly a year's worth of planning and work by firms to comply with the regulation. Ameriprise CEO Jim Cracchiolo has said during earnings calls that his firm has dedicated more than 500 employees to working on implementation.

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