On Feb. 3 President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum directing the Secretary of the Department of Labor to consider rescinding the fiduciary rule. That day saw many opponents of the rule celebrate an apparent executive order from the President ordering the delay of the contentious regulation. Firms sent out press releases while many media outlets reported on the impact of this apparent dismantling of the Obama-era rule. As the industry got a first look at the actual text of the document signed by the President, the celebrations were cut short. People learned the truth—the order included no delay after all.

Key to this confusion was a draft memorandum circulating among industry insiders indicating that Trump was delaying the rule by 180 days. But the final version of the memorandum did not include any reference to a specific time-frame. “I can’t explain how it happened,” said Nevin....

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