Earnings calls suggest that the retirement planning industry is still in the early stages of understanding not only how to comply with the DOL fiduciary rule, but what new costs will ultimately emerge, to providers and their clients.

Leaders of publicly traded companies that provide retirement investments, platforms, and advisory services have been peppered with questions from analysts on the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule this earnings season.

By now, most are familiar with the spirit of the rule—advisors to 401(k) plans and IRA rollovers will have to act as fiduciaries, or strictly in the best interest of participants and individual investors. Providers and advisors will have to fully comply with the new rule by January 1, 2018.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.