The Department of Labor last week reproposed a rule that would require financial advisers to act in their clients' best interests when the advice regards a retirement account. The rule would have the biggest impact on brokers. Under current law, they do not have to put their clients' interests ahead of their own because they are not fiduciaries. The proposed rule would require them to act as fiduciaries on retirement accounts, but not on other types of accounts. It would have little impact on investment advisers because they are already required to act as fiduciaries. The rule would apply to individual retirement accounts and 401(k)-type plans but have a bigger impact on IRAs because people who give investment advice in connection with employer-sponsored plans generally have a fiduciary obligation already, said Brian Pinheiro, a benefits attorney with Ballard Spahr. The proposal has the potential to reduce fees and conflicts of interest in retirement accounts. But a final rule is not likely to become effective until November 2016, said Fred Reish, an attorney and fiduciary expert. In the meantime, it highlights the importance of asking your adviser: Whose side are you on?

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