It was a very busy year in financial services. Our website visits grew by 72 percent to five million as we brought you comprehensive coverage of the industry. This week, we will bring you our top five most popular 2017 stories in life insurance, annuities, finance, politics, health insurance and the DOL fiduciary rule.
Nearly all of our most-read stories were about the Department of Labor fiduciary rule as the election of President Donald J. Trump gave rise to hopes for a repeal.
The campaign to derail the rule did not go smoothly, as nothing seemed to for the novice administration officials. Problems getting a labor secretary confirmed delayed efforts to ice the Obama-era fiduciary rule.
Once Secretary Alexander Acosta was confirmed in late April, it was already too late to stop the initial requirements of the fiduciary rule from taking effect. Acosta later led efforts to delay the second phase of the rule until July 1, 2019.
This Feb. 3 story on a Trump signing ceremony kicked off a wild weekend that had everyone from House Speaker Paul Ryan to industry officials thinking the president signed an order delaying the fiduciary rule.
At the last minute, White House officials softened the language and Trump actually signed a memorandum ordering the DOL to study whether the rule harms investors or the industry.
After taking a cautious approach, the DOL finalized a 60-day rule delay by the end of March.
The delay pushed the applicability date for the initial rule requirements to June 9. Many industry analysts expected the DOL to use the extra time to undo many of the fiduciary rule measures, or implement another delay.
But Acosta opted for the safe route and allowed the rule to take effect.
The DOL took an aggressive approach with phase two of the fiduciary rule. The agency eventually published a delay of 18 months, until July 1, 2019.
Phase two of the rule deals with exemptions, which regulate the sale of annuities sold with retirement funds. In particular, this deals with the Best Interest Contract Exemption, which requires a financial institution to accept liability for each contract and gives clients the right to sue over investment advice.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.