Several industry associations reacted to the official release of the Department of Labor’s final fiduciary rule.
LIMRA LOMA Secure Retirement Institute said it is developing resources to help financial services companies adapt to the rule.
“The Institute was established to offer relevant and insightful retirement research and education for every sector of the retirement market. We know this rule is a transformational event for our members and the industry and we want to help you respond to this new reality,” said Robert Kerzner president and CEO, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global.
LIMRA is planning working group sessions and virtual town hall meetings in April and early May to provide access to executives, attorneys, regulators and consultants that can help the financial services industry understand the implications of the new rule.
In addition, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute will conduct a series of studies to help its members understand the impact of this rule on the market and learn how other companies are responding. DOL Viewpoint surveys of asset managers, retirement plan services providers, distributors and advisors will track how they plan to adapt to the new requirements around the DOL rule. And an industry impact assessment will analyze the state of the industry today, including sales, distribution and marketing, in order to monitor the impact of the rule.
LOMA Secure Retirement Institute is creating a range of training programs to meet the different needs of home office employees and producers, including a basic course suitable for all of member firms’ associates. The course will provide the fundamentals so all associates know the basics about the new fiduciary rule and how it may impact their company. Additional training will include educational modules for financial professionals on basic and more complex issues around the rule.
NAILBA and partner AALU issued a statement saying their primary priority is to analyze the impacts of the rule and provide tools and resources to members as they navigate the impacts of the rule. AALU said it engaged Drinker Biddle as counsel to assist in these efforts, led by Brad Campbell, a former ERISA agent at the DOL. Drinker Biddle will provide a complete analysis of the rule’s details and the practical implications for the life insurance industry in a report.
Additional analyses, fact sheets, and checklists containing actionable information and guidelines concerning implementation will be provided by Drinker Biddle and AALU staff, and Drinker Biddle will also participate in AALU’s 2016 Annual Meeting in May during sessions focused on the rule.
In addition to these efforts, AALU has created a DOL Implementation Task Force — which includes representatives from its membership and partners — to facilitate a more cohesive life insurance industry response to the DOL rule, help establish best practices and harness the knowledge of carriers and members to explore changes to product designs and new distribution avenues that could result.
“While we are focused on implementation issues, we will continue our advocacy to correct any shortcomings with the rule that negatively impact our members and the retirement savers you serve,” the AALU statement said. “We’ve worked with our industry partners over the last year to educate Congress about the many problems with the proposed rule as written — AALU submitted several formal comment letters to DOL, testified in front of the DOL and Congress, and held over 200 meetings with Members of Congress — and a number of senators and representatives in both parties have expressed serious concerns that the rule could harm the very individuals that the DOL intends to help. To the extent that the final rule fails to address Congressional concerns, we will continue to work with policymakers to explore all avenues to ensure that average retirement savers’ needs are met.”
The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) issued a statement following the announcement of the rule.
“Our goal throughout the process has been to ensure that this rule would not harm millions of American workers saving for their retirement years,” said IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford. ”In addition to concerns about limited consumer choice on lifetime income products, IRI and its member companies, along with hundreds of members of Congress on a bipartisan basis and thousands of other commenters, have been concerned that the rule as proposed would restrict access to retirement planning advice for younger savers and those with modest savings.
“We have provided considerable, constructive input to the Department of Labor, the Administration, and policymakers on Capitol Hill to help address these concerns,” continued Weatherford. “Through our comment letters, testimony and meetings with regulators, we have provided specific revisions to ensure retirement savers can continue to access retirement planning advice and a full array of lifetime income options. We will carefully examine the rule in its final form to determine if these important changes have been made to avoid any harmful consequences for retirement savers.”
Financial Services Roundtable, an advocacy organization for the financial services industry, also plans to analyze the rule to determine next steps.
“Policymakers should do everything they can to help Americans be more prepared for retirement and not create red tape that makes saving for retirement more difficult,” said FSR CEO Tim Pawlenty.
Earlier this year, FSR applauded House lawmakers for advancing legislation aimed at ensuring the rule did not harm low- to moderate-income consumers’ ability to save for retirement, saying the proposed rule could increase costs and red tape.
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