Department of Labor

Scoop: Top aide to Labor secretary to depart after clash with White House

Trump and Alex Acosta
President Trump and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta. Photo: Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images

Nick Geale, the top aide to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, is leaving the Trump administration after a clash with White House officials who regarded him as personally difficult and an impediment to President Trump's deregulatory agenda, according to sources with direct knowledge.

Behind the scenes: Senior White House officials — especially within the Domestic Policy Council — have made it clear to Acosta that they're frustrated that, in their view, the Labor Department hasn't been moving quickly or aggressively enough on deregulation. And some have pointed to Geale as the problem. The White House also separately lodged a complaint about Geale.

Financial advisers may be forced to look out for clients again

block that says fidiciary duty
Photo: Getty Images

The Obama-era rule that financial advisers must give advice in the best interest of their clients rather steering them toward products that pay kickbacks to the adviser will return — at least in some form. It died in court last year after the Trump administration declined to defend it. But in a congressional hearing last week, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said the agency plans to revive it.

Why it matters: Since the rule was rescinded in June 2018, "[s]ales of potentially questionable investment products have soared, and retirees stand to end up billions of dollars poorer," says Ethan Schwartz, an investment manager who worked in the Clinton administration Treasury Department, in an editorial for Bloomberg.