Late Thursday, Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., introduced the Retail Investor Protection Act, companion legislation to Rep. Ann Wagner’s bill, to stop the Department of Labor from moving forward on its rule to change the definition of fiduciary on retirement advice.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Mark Kirk, R-Ill. and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. 

DOL’s “proposed regulation on retirement account investments will increase costs, reduce access to advice and services, limit options and lead to lower retirement savings for millions of Americans,” Blunt said in introducing the bill.

DOL’s rule “is an ‘ill-advised’ regulation” that “interjects the federal bureaucracy between Missouri families planning for retirement and the experts they’re counting on for financial information, to the detriment of both,” added Blunt.

Wagner, a Missouri Republican whose bill passed the House of Representatives in October, “has already taken action to rein in the DOL and protect Missouri families, and I urge my Senate colleagues to do the same,” Blunt said.   

Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, CFP Board’s managing director of public policy and communications — part of the Financial Planning Coalition — said she was “hopeful that the Senate will reject this latest effort to impede the DOL from moving forward to put in place a long overdue strengthened fiduciary rule to protect retirement investors.”

Wagner said in a statement that she “applauds” Blunt for introducing this legislation that has passed the House “twice with bipartisan support.”

But Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America, said that the House vote the second time — with less support from Democrats — “made clear that support for this approach … has faded, and the lack of Democratic co-sponsors [to Blunt’s bill] reinforces that message.”

Blunt’s legislation “is based on a false premise that the DOL rule would harm retirement savers,” Roper said. “In fact, this legislation would impede the ability of DOL and the SEC to rein in industry practices that harm investors and retirement savers. No one who supports a best interest standard for investment advice should support these bills.”

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