Industry trade groups worry that a bill that was reported out of the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday and referred to the House Education and Workforce Committee for consideration will stop the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Labor’s fiduciary rules in their tracks.
The bill, the Retail Investor Protection Act, which passed by a 44-13 vote, was introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., and would require that the Department of Labor wait to repropose its fiduciary rule until 60 days after the SEC issues its fiduciary proposal.
Wagner’s bill would also have required that the SEC conduct a more stringent cost-benefit analysis than the one it is currently undertaking, but that language was taken out by an amendment put forth by Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., and approved by voice vote.
Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., also failed to get her bill giving the SEC the authority to assess user fees to fund advisor exams attached as an amendment to Wagner’s legislation. Both House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas and Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., rebuffed the amendment arguing that it was not “germane.”
Industry trade groups sent a joint letter to the House Financial Services Committee the same day stating that “despite its name,” Wagner’s bill, H.R. 2374, “is not an investor protection bill. To the contrary, it would leave American investors with significantly less protection.”
The groups—which included the Investment Adviser Association, the Financial Planning Association, the CFP Board, the AARP, the North American Securities Administrators Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors—said the bill also “imposes unnecessary and onerous rulemaking requirements that the SEC must meet before it can adopt a fiduciary rule.”
The groups also said that Wagner’s bill “linking” the DOL and SEC rulemakings would not only prevent the DOL from moving forward with a rule on the definition of fiduciary under ERISA, but the bill “potentially halts DOL’s rulemaking altogether if the SEC does not act on a fiduciary rule.”
However, Rob Smith, president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, says NAIFA agrees with Wagner “that if the SEC is going to proceed on a rule, then they should demonstrate how the rule will resolve any harm to consumers, and that they should go before the DOL.”