As referenced in the episode “The Foundation” from Seinfeld, Dr. McCoy did say at the end of Star Trek II after the death of Spock: “He’s really not dead, as long as remember him.”
I feel the same way about the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule that was cut down before it was fully implemented, gutted by the Trump administration and the courts. I believe that the rule still has an effect in the marketplace as plan sponsors understand their fiduciary responsibility a little more thanks to the media attention to the new rule. In addition, there are many broker-dealers who realize that after spending millions to comply with the new rule, they can’t simply turn back the clock and act if the new rule never happened.
I believe that the new rule acted as a wakeup call to plan sponsors and the industry that fiduciary responsibility for the plan sponsor is a lot more important than who gets paid for what investment they pick and that the plan sponsor’s clients needs outweigh any trail. In the end, I also believe just because the latest attempt to replace a 40+-year-old fiduciary rule doesn’t mean the DOL won’t try again because they will.