"We're going to create a level playing field" for advisors who already put clients first, Perez says. (Photo: AP)

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said Friday that the Department of Labor “has worked very closely” with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the redraft of its rule to amend the definition of fiduciary on retirement accounts.

“I’ve personally met a number of times” with SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White, Perez said during an interview on CNBC. SEC and DOL staffers “have been working closely throughout” the redrafting, he continued, stating that DOL has had “numerous meetings that I’ve personally participated in with industry and consumer stakeholders.”

Perez’s comments come after Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chairman of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee, told Perez in March 4 letter to furnish to them by March 18 all of the correspondence between the DOL and SEC regarding DOL’s fiduciary redraft.

The two lawmakers told Perez that a “revised notice of proposed rulemaking” should not be issued by the DOL “until after Congress is satisfied that sufficient coordination has occurred.”

In his comments on CNBC, Perez cited comments made by Vanguard founder Jack Bogle: “When you put your customers first, that’s not only good for the customer, it’s good for business.”

Said Perez on Friday: “Lawyers and doctors have an obligation to look out for the best interest of their patients and clients, and all’s we’re saying is, in the financial context, that advisor ought to do the same—and they can do it. So many financial advisors are in fact already doing it, and we’re going to create a level playing field for them. That’s what our proposal will have.”

— Check out GOP Reps Demand Proof DOL Didn’t Go It Alone on Fiduciary on ThinkAdvisor.