2016. It was the best of years, it was the worst of years. Theannum began with all the excitement of the day before Christmas,with the unopened promise of a neatly wrapped fiduciary rule soon to be delivered under theinvestment advice tree by the jolly DOL elf.

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It’s now nearly twelve months later, and all that excitement haswithered with the knowledge that same fiduciary rule will soon beleft abandoned like so many toys in the days followingChristmas.

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The road to fhe fiduciary rule has been long but ever ascendant,but now many are left wondering “What’s Next?” (see “‘Houston, the Fiduciary Has Landed.’ Where Does‘Fiduciary’ Go From Here?FiduciaryNews.com, December6, 2016). Some cling to the vague hope this is all but a dream, andwhen the new morning dawns, the world will return to the normal weall once embraced.

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But a new morning has dawned. It brings with it many things,many good and exciting things. At least that’s what everyone issaying. Now. One of the things it doesn’t bring with it – andthat’s The Fiduciary Rule.

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I know, I know, you’ve read ad infinitum so many articlesdetailing why the fiduciary rule is too big to kill.

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By now, the never-ending list is probably etched in your brain:“It’s not a priority for Trump;” “Senate Democrats will block anylegislation designed to end it;” “80 days between Inauguration andImplementation is too short a time to do anything;” “It can’t berescinded in time;” “A new Labor Secretary and Under Secretarywon’t be approved in time;” et cetera, et cetera…

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These are all the last gasps of denial.

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If there’s one thing we should have learned in 2016, it’s thatyou should never tell anyone anything is impossible, especially ifthat anyone is one President-elect Donald J. Trump.

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Time and time again, when they said it couldn’t be done, Trumpfound a way to do it.

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I continue to believe shutting down the fiduciary rule is low onTrump’s “To-Do” list, but it will just as quickly be “the player tobe named” later during the inevitable negotiations that he willengage in with the Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

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For those in Congress, ending the fiduciary rule is a highpriority, perhaps higher than some of Trump’s priorities. No oneshould be surprised if the fiduciary rule ends ignobly on page 743of the 23,748 page law that rescinds Obamacare.

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If you’re looking for a slim thread of hope that the fiduciaryrule sticks around a little longer, here it is: Trump has madeclear his dislike for big banks and hedge funds.

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Perhaps this personal vitriol extends to other “big” financialfirms, like the brokers who see the fiduciary rule as an albatrosson their heretofore extremely profitable business model.

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If this is the case, then maybe Trump doesn’t want to move tooquickly – if at all – on the fiduciary rule. Maybe, just maybe,he’s thinking it might be fun to leave them dangling there for abit while longer.

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There are any number of ways to achieve this and, at the sametime, effectively kill the fiduciary rule.

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For example, Trump could simply ignore the rule. He could agreewith Congress to withhold the funding necessary to implementthe rule. That way, the rule could stay swinging on the books withDamocles dormancy.

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Firms would continue to have to expend the necessary funds toprepare for its theoretical implementation while swarms of tortattorney swim around them in circles, waiting to “enforce” thephantom fule.

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It’s a fuzzy limbo that could only be found in The TwilightZone.

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If there’s one person who knows how to turn classic TV into areality show, it’s Trump. Don’t bet against him.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal FiduciaryNews.com and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christophercarosa/)and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisCarosa).