Just as the House Appropriations Committee plans to vote on — and likely approve — on Wednesday a funding bill that would block progress on the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule under ERISA, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez stated Tuesday that the rule is “one of the most important” measures DOL has on its plate to protect middle-class Americans.
“We want to create an enforceable best-interest standard” because the existing retirement advice regulatory system under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was created 40 years ago, Perez said during a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “We need to get into the modern ages of regulation. This [fiduciary rulemaking under ERISA] will be a sea change for some.”
At the event, held by Brookings’ Hamilton Project, Perez stated that the comments that are coming on the fiduciary redraft are helping DOL to “sharpen” its thinking on how to make changes to the plan’s prohibited transaction exemptions, like the point of sale disclosure requirements.
Perez noted the fiduciary redraft was among the top priorities for DOL in the “577 days remaining” until Jan. 20, 2017 — the day President Barack Obama leaves office — to “help strengthen and grow the middle class.”