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Brokers Upended by Obama's Tough Rules for Retirement Advice

  • Labor Department requires firms to put client interests first
  • Rule softened from proposal after finance industry lobbying
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New U.S. Labor Department Rule Puts Retirees First

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U.S. brokers managing retirement accounts must adhere to tough new standards under an Obama administration rule released Wednesday that aims to protect millions of savers from conflicted investment advice.

The Labor Department regulation, which gave the industry some concessions from an earlier proposal, puts a capstone on President Barack Obama’s efforts to rein in Wall Street and level the playing field for investors who hold some $12 trillion in Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k) plans. For the brokerages, mutual funds and insurers that fought the plan for more than five years, it will bring compliance headaches and likely more lawsuits from disgruntled clients.