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More than six years have passed since the U.S. Department of Labor first rolled out its fiduciary rule for the retirement industry, but whether that rule becomes effective in early June, as now planned, still remains uncertain.

Despite the delay, analysts say the mere threat of the federal rule going live — along with a decade of class action litigation — already has wrought changes to an industry more in the public view than ever before. As the attorneys who represent companies parse the fine print to ensure legal compliance should the rule stand, some observers predict many companies will adopt stricter standards for a simpler reason: good business.

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