The Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule for retirement plan advisors is not written in stone, DOL Employee Benefits Security Administration Assistant Secretary Tim Hauser said Thursday.

“There will be changes. No doubt about it,” Hauser told a meeting of the Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee.

While Hauser did not say what changes are likely, EBSA Assistant Secretary Judy Mares said DOL will revise the rule to eliminate confusion.

Hauser took issue with contention of Jerry Lombard, chair of the Private Client Services Committee for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, that the rule would increase costs to investors by stimulating an “endless” outpouring of lawsuits.

“The rule should not result in an explosion of litigation,” the DOL executive said.

To Lombard’s contention that the rule would reduce the availability of IRA advice for small investors at brokerages, Mares said:  “We’re not trying to reduce consumer access. Consumers need help.”

In additional to his role at SIMFA, Lombard is president of Janney Montgomery Scott Private Client Group.