IRI president Cathy Weatherford provided testimony today regarding the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule proposal and its impact on retirement savers.
Weatherford stated IRI’s concerns “that the rule as proposed will result in restricted and limited access to retirement planning advice and fewer lifetime income options for retirement savers.”
Later today, Weatherford provided a statement regarding the fiduciary rule proposal:
“Throughout this process — in meetings with the Department of Labor and the Administration, in our comment letters, and in our testimonies — it has been our goal to be constructive and to identify the changes that are necessary to avoid unintended consequences for retirement savers. All indications suggest that the DOL has heard our concerns, and we hope they will modify the proposal.
“As such, we will continue to work with the DOL to help arrive at a workable rule that preserves access to retirement planning advice and a full array of lifetime income products for retirement savers. However, in the event these important changes do not materialize to the extent necessary to protect all retirement savers, there must be a mechanism ready to ensure no consumer is harmed by the proposal. With this in mind, and until we can verify these changes have been made, we will support the Retail Investor Protection Act (H.R. 1090) to provide more time to get this right.”
In addition to that statement, Weatherford provided the following core principles DOL should follow when revising its proposal:
- Financial professionals should be held to a best interest standard when recommending investments to retirement savers.
- Consumers are entitled to freedom of access to retirement income guarantees.
- In the post-defined benefit plan era, the availability of guaranteed retirement income through IRA rollovers meets a critical consumer need.
- Rules for annuity products must be specifically crafted to account for their guaranteed lifetime income features.
- Competitive annuity markets serve consumer interests.
- Consumers have a right to choose their preferred source of retirement advice, including the option to work with advice providers who are experts on proprietary products, and how their advice provider is compensated.
- The Administration’s public policy position in favor of access to and utilization of guaranteed lifetime income products should be advanced.