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By Jill Schlesinger
Updated: April 5, 2016 11:00 PM ET | Originally published: March 15, 2016

More than a year after the White House endorsed a Department of Labor proposal, which would force financial professionals working with retirement investors to adhere to the fiduciary standard, the final rule is set to be announced on April 6.

As a reminder, “fiduciary” is a fancy way of saying that a financial professional must put your needs first and must pledge to disclose and manage any conflicts of interest that exist. For example, if the adviser recommends an insurance policy and offers to sell it to you, she must tell you if she receives any compensation for doing so. Investment professionals who are not fiduciaries are held to a lesser standard, called “suitability.” That standard means what they sell you has to be appropriate, though not necessarily in your best interest.

The new rule will require everyone providing retirement investment advice to be held to the fiduciary standard — which, again, means that they must provide impartial advice in their client’s best interest and that they cannot accept any payments creating conflicts of interest unless they qualify for an exemption intended to assure that the customer is adequately protected.

Not sure whether your financial professional is held to the fiduciary standard? The easiest thing to do is to ask. But there are also certain designations that require that the professional adhere to the fiduciary standard:

During the new rule’s comment period, many big firms fought back against the fiduciary standard, arguing that the new rules would make it prohibitively expensive to serve customers with smaller accounts. But companies that take that position — arguing that working in their clients’ best interest is not good business — may soon find that their customers will go elsewhere.

After all, don’t you want to be assured that the fiduciary standard is not only enforced, but embraced?

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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