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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > DOL

Rep Rallies Small Businesses Behind Alternative to DOL Fiduciary Rule

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Calling the Department of Labor’s rule to amend the definition of fiduciary under ERISA “really, really aggressive” at “trying to crowd out” retirement savers from receiving advice, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., said Monday that he’s bent on moving bipartisan legislation through the House and Senate to slow down DOL’s rule.

While there’s little bipartisan support for attaching a rider to an omnibus spending bill to defund DOL’s plan, there is another option, Roskam told attendees at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event Monday: “legislating.”

Roskam, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, was referring to a bill that he is co-sponsoring with Richard Neal, D-Mass.; Phil Roe, R-Tenn.; and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., that sets out a series of legislative principles that will “help strengthen the retirement security of working families and ensure retirement advisors protect their clients’ best interests.”

Roe is a member of the Education and Workforce Committee, Neal is also a member of House Ways and Means, and Lujan Grisham is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

DOL’s agenda, Roskam told small businesses attending the Chamber’s Project Small Business Retirement event, is “to crowd the federal government into more and more places,” with the rule’s “long term” result being to “get the private sector out of the retirement space.”

Said Roskam: “I think we can come up with a bipartisan bill that frames this [fiduciary] issue up in a more thoughtful way.”

Roskam urged the group of small-business owners as they headed to Capitol Hill the same day to lobby lawmakers to “sign on to the principles” that he and Neal articulated, so that legislators will “be more willing to sign on to” the bill.  

But the Financial Planning Coalition — comprising the Financial Planning Association, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors — urged lawmakers the same day to “reject” any legislation based on a “declaration of principles” that is currently circulating in Congress.

“Congressional action is unnecessary and would derail, not advance, a final rule to require retirement advisors to serve their clients’ best interests,” the Coalition stated.

Roskam said that he also opposed DOL’s plan, released Monday, to help guide states in developing state-run retirement plans. Illinois is a “fiscal basket case right now and is not able to meet the $100 billion unfunded pension obligations,” Roskam said. “The notion that we’re going to empower states” to set up retirement plans “we can dismiss … on its face.”

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said Monday that nearly 1.2 million workers are poised to benefit from Illinois’ state-run plan, the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program.

— Check out Slim Chance to Stop DOL Fiduciary Rule, but Brokers Must Keep Fighting: Rep. Mulvaney on ThinkAdvisor.


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