With its contentious fiduciary rule only partially in effect, the Department of Labor is pressing ahead with a new proposal to add exemptions to the regulation that business groups say could relieve compliance burdens but that critics contend will effectively neuter the rule.

In its formal call for an 18-month delay of the best-interest contract exemption and other controversial parts of the rule this week, the Labor Department indicated that it is finalizing a proposal for a new exemption likely to focus on certain classes of mutual fund shares ― a central source of the conflicts the original fiduciary regulation was intended to address.

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