Republican senators are questioning the timing of a Department of Labor study on ways people go about planning their financial goals before and during retirement.
The DOL research request, published last week in the Federal Register, says that DOL is planning to undertake a “long-term research study to develop a panel that will track U.S. households over several years in order to collect data and answer important research questions on how retirement planning strategies and decisions evolve over time.”
The request states that “relatively little is known about how people make planning and financial decisions before and during retirement,” and that “a major hurdle to retirement research is the lack of data on how people make these decisions related to retirement.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, said in reaction to the data request that “it is appalling that, by its own admission, the Department of Labor does not know enough about how individuals and families make retirement decisions, yet the Obama administration is still willing to move forward with implementation of a fiduciary rulemaking.”
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DOL’s rule to amend the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act “would limit access to investment advice for the families who need it most and in my opinion is a solution in search of a problem,” Isakson said.
Isakson is a co-sponsor with Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., of the Retail Investor Protection Act, companion legislation to Rep. Ann Wagner’s previous bill, which would stop DOL from moving forward on its fiduciary rule.