On June 21, 2018, the Fifth Circuit finally issued its mandate to officially finalize its March 2018, opinion vacating the Department of Labor's (DOL) "fiduciary rule" regulations. For more information on the regulations, please see our prior HRBenefitsAuthority, dated April 14, 2016.

Even though both the Fifth Circuit's opinion and its recent mandate have been interpreted by numerous commentators as vacating the fiduciary rule regulations nationwide, neither the Fifth Circuit's opinion nor its mandate specify whether it is intended to apply only within the Fifth Circuit's jurisdiction (Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) or nationwide. However, based on the Trump Administration's hostility to the fiduciary rule and the finality of the Fifth Circuit's decision, the DOL's fiduciary rule appears to be dead.Current Status of the Fiduciary Rule. Last month, the DOL issued a temporary enforcement policy on the day that the Fifth Circuit was expected to issue its mandate. For more information on the temporary enforcement policy, please see our prior HRBenefitsAuthority, dated May 8, 2018. The DOL has yet to make any public statement following the issuance of the Fifth Circuit's mandate. To add to the confusion, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a proposed version of its own fiduciary rule in April, which is still in the public comment period.

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