The Department of Labor has made reasonable concessions in its final rule fiduciary rule, but there are still some muddy waters that will need to be clarified—either by the DOL or by the courts—benefits attorneys and others said.

Benefits attorneys and the financial industry were generally satisfied with the concessions made to the best-interest-contract exemption, considered the “heart” of the rule by the DOL. The changes streamlined the BICE and removed some of its complexities.

The DOL made another important change by allowing advisers to get negative consent for existing clients, Robert S. Kaplan, an associate in the Philadelphia office of Ballard Spahr LLP, told Bloomberg BNA April 7. Under the final rule, if a client doesn't respond within 30 days of being alerted to the BICE, the contract will take effect. The revision was “critical for the investment community,” because contacting existing clients one by one and getting affirmative consent would have been “impossible,” he said.