FSI & the Roundtable: DOL Owes Progress Report on Fiduciary Rule Re-Proposal
How is the Criteria Congress Outlined Being Followed?March 13, 2012
Late last year, more than 50 House Republicans and 30 House Democrats sent the Department of Labor two separate letters regarding the Department’s attempt to redefine the term “fiduciary.” The letters directed the Department to follow a set of criteria while writing their new rule – a rule that threatens to price Main Street Americans out of financial advice on their IRAs leaving only the wealthy with access to advice.
Today, the Financial Services Institute (FSI) and the Financial Services Roundtable call on Secretary Hilda Solis to release a progress report on the Department’s efforts in re-proposing this rule, and to show how it is following to the criteria outlined by this strong, bi-partisan Congressional request. Read the letter to DOL Secretary Solis.
“All along, FSI has called for DOL to ‘withdraw and re-propose,’ not withdraw and walk away,” FSI President & CEO Dale Brown said. “So we fully expected and urged DOL to come back with a more appropriate rule based off a true picture of the problem they’re trying to solve. Letters from a long, bipartisan roster of members of Congress reinforce the same desire to get these rule changes right. Yet, we still have no idea what the problem is, while we’re told they are working on a solution.
“We believe our financial advisors, members of Congress and 19 million IRA investors across the country shouldn’t have to wait until this rule is re-proposed before finding out what the problem is they’re trying to fix,” Brown continued. “We should all know now if the DOL is following the commonsense, bipartisan criteria that Republican and Democratic members of the House demanded they follow during this process. The DOL should update the public soon on their progress. We look forward to the Department sharing their evidence of problems prompting this pending rule, hopefully dispelling the conventional wisdom that it’s a solution in search of a problem.
“The goal of the DOL’s proposal should be to find ways to expand retirement savings, not restrict them,” said Steve Bartlett, President and CEO for the Roundtable. “We cannot afford to do anything but put our financial future first.”
Below are the criteria that Congress sent to the DOL to follow:
- It is carefully and effectively targeted to address well-defined and documented problems in the retirement planning advice business;
- It clearly recognizes that IRA accounts are significantly different from employer-sponsored plans because the IRA investor has nearly a limitless choice among service providers and investment products;
- It ensures that plan participants and plan sponsors continue to be able to receive the critical information needed to expand retirement savings and coverage;
- It preserves investor access to and choice among suitable financial products and services delivered by qualified financial professionals;
- It avoids costly new regulatory requirements that exceed their proven benefits for investors;
- It does not compound the investor confusion that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recent study under the Dodd-Frank Act identified as the primary problem for retail investors. Effective regulation must add to the public certainty, not diminish it;
- It is narrowly drafted to address well-defined and documented concerns;
- Preserves the access of IRA owners and plan participants to investment services delivered by qualified financial professionals using whatever business model best fits the investor’s objectives; and
- Ensures that companies can receive the investment information they need to establish plans and offer.
For copies of the actual letters sent from Congress to the DOL, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Financial Services Institute: FSI is an advocacy organization for independent financial services firms and independent financial advisors. Established in January 2004, we have well over 100 financial services firm members and over 35,000 financial advisor members. Our member firms have upwards of 180,000 financial advisors affiliated with them. Our mission is to create a more responsible regulatory environment for independent broker-dealers and their affiliated independent financial advisors through effective advocacy, education and public awareness. And our strategy includes involvement in FINRA governance, constructive engagement in the regulatory process and effective influence on the legislative process. For more information, visit financialservices.org.
About the Financial Services Roundtable: The Financial Services Roundtable represents 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, and investment products and services to the American consumer. Member companies participate through the Chief Executive Officer and other senior executives nominated by the CEO. Roundtable member companies provide fuel for America’s economic engine, accounting directly for $92.7 trillion in managed assets, $1.2 trillion in revenue, and 2.3 million jobs.