SIFMA President Ken Bentsen says the final Department of Labor fiduciary rule “will have dramatic intended and unintended consequences for investors and the firms that serve them.”
In his opening remarks at today’s SIFMA Private Client Conference in New York, Bentsen said, “It is too early to make a definitive statement on the final rule’s actual effects and impact” given the “complexity and volume” of the rule, which runs around 1,000 pages.
He acknowledged that the DOL made changes from earlier versions of the rule, but repeated SIFMA’s concerns that the rule could end up raising costs and reducing choice for investors.
In addition, Bentsen, like Financial Services Institute CEO Dale Brown, questioned the need for the DOL fiduciary rule. “We remain concerned that the original premise for the rule lacked empirical basis.”
Bentsen also criticized “statements from the official sector suggesting that the brokerage industry’s business model ‘rests on bilking’ clients or that every mutual fund in every IRA … is excessively charged, when the facts say otherwise.”
Bentsen was referring in part to comments from President Barack Obama last year, repeated by Jeffrey Zients, director of the White House National Economic Council, on Tuesday when he and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez introduced the final fiduciary rule to the media.
“If your business model rests on bilking hardworking Americans out of their retirement money, then you shouldn’t be in business,” said Zients, echoing the president.
Such statements “malign an entire sector of the economy and by extension every professional employed in it,” said Bentsen.