The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is prepared to use this year “every tool” it can — including lobbying Congress — to voice its concerns about the Department of Labor’s redraft of its rule to amend the definition of fiduciary on retirement accounts.
David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, said on a Tuesday call with reporters that the Securities and Exchange Commission is “the primary regulator” regarding fiduciary duties, and that the Chamber “doesn’t want DOL creating another regulatory approach.”
Said Hirschmann: “What we really need to have is all the players in this [fiduciary] space—DOL, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority—[collaborate] on what the system [for fiduciary advice] should look like. But that’s not what’s happening here — DOL wants to expansively act” on its own.
The Chamber held the call to discuss its annual Fix. Add. Replace. regulatory agenda for 2015, which proposes ways to address challenges and provide necessary changes in areas the Chamber believes have the “broadest impact on the American economy and the millions of businesses that rely on effective capital formation.”
“We should always seek ways to better inform and serve investors,” Hirschmann said, “but one size-fits-all rigid rules” by DOL are “a step in the wrong direction.” He said that the Chamber would “judge any proposed rule by DOL by one simple test: will it help ensure investors have access to more advice and well-disclosed choices to plan and save for their retirement?”
The Obama administration’s claim that there are currently “no rules of the road” to protect investors is “missing everything that the SEC and FINRA” do, he said. The Chamber, he continued, is concerned about “the DOL regime of prohibiting everything unless they allow it” via its prohibited transaction exemptions (PTEs).
While the DOL says that the PTEs under its fiduciary redraft “will be broad and flexible,” Hirschmann said, “DOL has [historically] been very narrow, slow and rigid in their PTE approach.”