EBSA commends CFTC on business conduct standards

The Employee Benefits Security Administration wrote a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission commending the organization for the “care” it took in coordinating its external business conduct standards for swap dealers and major swap participants with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The rules will have a direct impact on ERISA-covered plans and plan fiduciaries, according to the letter by Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary of the EBSA.

“The Department of Labor has reviewed these final business conduct standards and concluded that they do not require swap dealers or major swap participants to engage in activities that would make them fiduciaries under the Department of Labor’s current five-part test defining fiduciary advice,” she said in the letter. “In the Department’s view, the CFTC’s final business conduct standards neither conflict with the Department’s existing regulations, nor compel swap dealers or major swap participants to engage in fiduciary conduct.”

She added that the DOL will make sure that any changes to the current ERISA fiduciary advice regulation are “carefully harmonized with the final business conduct standards, as adopted by the CFTC and the SEC, so that there are no unintended consequences for swap dealers and major swap participants who comply with these business conduct standards.”

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