The Insured Retirement Institute will focus its on expanding workers’ access to retirement planning and saving opportunities in 2017, the organization noted in a conference call with reporters on Monday outlining its initiatives for the year.
IRI, a trade group for the retirement income industry, released its 2017 Retirement Security Blueprint on Monday, outlining public policy initiatives that include increasing access to lifetime income options and workplace savings plans, improving access to professional financial advice, as well as education and information, and preserving tax favorable treatment of retirement savings plans, Lee Covington, senior vice president and general counsel for IRI, said on the call.
Regarding the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, Covington noted that people who work with an advisor have better savings habits than those who try to plan for retirement on their own.
IRI supports a best-interest standard in financial planning, Covington said. “However, with the pending applicability date of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule fast approaching, IRI continues to have significant concerns about the rule and its harmful impact on financial savers,” he said.
He continued, “The rule makes sweeping changes to the existing regulatory framework that would also make it harder for savers to plan for retirement, and it will deprive them of access to affordable holistic financial advice as well as a wide range of investment options.”
Covington said IRI “applauds President Trump’s action earlier this month” to delay the rule. Covington said he’s confident that Labor and the Office of Management and Budget will follow the president’s directive to delay the rule until a review can be done.
IRI’s blueprint calls on Congress to replace the rule and “establish a consistent best interest standard of care that preserves access to retirement advice and offers a wide array of lifetime income products for America’s retirement savers.”
IRI also supports a bill introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson to delay the rule by two years. However, Paul Richman, vice president of government affairs, expressed concerns about the timing of the bill and whether the House Financial Services Committee would have time to mark it up before April 10. He said IRI is working with Wilson’s office to see if it can help move the bill forward.
IRI will also urge Congress to maintain tax treatment of retirement savings plans. “Our research overwhelmingly shows that people would save less if tax deferral were reduced or eliminated,” Covington said. “As our nation’s policymakers consider proposals to reform the tax code, our blueprint therefore urges to maintain the current tax treatment toward retirement savings.”