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Best-Interest Contract Exemption (BICE)

Best-Interest Contract Exemption (BICE)

What Was the Best-Interest Contract Exemption (BICE)?

The best-interest contract exemption (BICE) allowed guardians to be paid in manners that were generally disallowed, for example, commissions or revenue sharing. The rule was passed as part of a new, more rigid definition of a fiduciary by the Department of Labor in a ruling that was hence emptied in June 2018. Thusly, the BICE exemption is as of now not applicable.

The BICE allowed people, for example, financial advisors who are subject to the fiduciary provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code, to acknowledge compensation from selling proprietary products, as well as earn money in light of commissions from suggesting certain products. As a fiduciary, such compensation would ordinarily be denied. The BICE was a key part of the rollout of the now-retired fiduciary rule.

Understanding the Best-Interest Contract Exemption (BICE)

The new fiduciary rule was intended to be applied to investment advisors and planners assuming the job of fiduciary investment advisors, implying that they would need to follow more severe rules and stay away from conflicts of interest.

Therefore, advisors who received extra commissions assuming a client picked a particular product may be in conflict in the event that comparative products that didn't pay a commission were considered to be comparable. BICE allowed the advisor to in any case receive that commission assuming they entered a contractual agreement expressing that they would act to the greatest advantage of the client and keep away from any misrepresentation of the options.

The best interest contract exemption (otherwise called "BIC exemption") gave a restricted transaction exemption, according to the Department of Labor (DOL). This exemption was to be applied to any transactions that happened on or after June 9, 2017.

Best-Interest Contract Exemption: Advisor Perspective

The Department of Labor's (DOL) fiduciary rule was not scheduled to come into full force until January 2018. President Trump, as part of a far reaching work to reduce government regulations, delayed its implementation, which was intended to begin on April 10, 2017. As of June 21, 2018, the U.S. fifth Circuit Court of Appeals authoritatively abandoned the rule, effectively killing it.

The rule, and the cost and burden of conforming to it, was the source of much uneasiness among financial advisors. In the original draft, there was a requirement of progressing disclosure of compensation over the life of a product, and no unmistakable limits on liability which would be chosen by the offended parties' bar.

Best-Interest Contract Exemption and Financial Services

During the lead-up to the fiduciary rule's implementation date, financial services companies had cautioned that the rule would limit professional investment guidance for center and low-income savers. This is on the grounds that such investors are not beneficial enough for advisors and advisory firms to legitimize the costs of seeking after a BICE. All things being equal, these clients would almost certainly have to go to roboadvisors or other low-cost options for investment exhortation.

Given that the compliance costs of any new rule are not fully perceived until after implementation, advisors, and companies were restless about meeting another compliance burden. Financial service firms had planned to run cost-benefit investigations on the BIC exemption to see whether it would be a practical alternative.


  • The best-interest contract exemption (BICE) was a rule passed by the Department of Labor that was part of a now-emptied redefinition of fiduciary. Starting around 2018, BICE is at this point not in effect.
  • Had the bigger Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule been put into effect, it would have shed a significant number of the commission structures that are part of the structure of the industry.
  • Under a fiduciary standard, financial professionals must focus on their clients' best interests, instead of pushing for certain investments.
  • The rule allowed financial advisors and others to be paid for selling proprietary products, and to earn commissions when they suggested select products, generally not be allowed under the proposed legislation.