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This year’s biggest controversy in financial services may focus on a crusade by the Department of Labor to subject IRA accounts to an ERISA fiduciary standard. Despite fierce industry opposition, the DOL has vowed to press ahead with rule-making, with a final proposed rule expected in April. The proposal would force advisors who wish to be compensated for IRA advice and services to become fee-based. Without DOL compromise, the proposal could effectively end commission-based advice in this huge market, which controls about $5 trillion.


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