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NAFA Launches Campaign to Stop DOL Fiduciary Rule

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The National Association for Fixed Annuities has launched a grassroots campaign to appeal directly to the Trump administration as well as to Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta to stop the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule from taking effect on June 9.

“We want the administration to understand the disappointment and anxiety being felt by our membership, which thought President Trump would never allow such a far-reaching excessive regulation to get this far,” said NAFA Executive Director Chip Anderson in a Monday statement announcing the initiative.

Anderson said that as of Monday “over 2,000 members have already written the White House, and we anticipate hundreds more will be doing so in the weeks ahead.”

Anderson said that while NAFA appreciates recent requests by members of Congress that Acosta delay the fiduciary rule’s June compliance date further, as well as permanently, “make no mistake about it, NAFA still appeals directly to President Trump and Secretary Acosta to exercise their authority to stop any part of this rule from going into effect before the DOL has completed its re-examination of the rule” as called for by the Trump’s Feb. 3 memorandum.

“We have a little more than a month to stop this runaway train. NAFA is pulling out all the stops to try to prevent any part of this rule going live on June 9,” Anderson said.

NAFA, “feels strongly DOL must examine the rule in accordance with the White House memorandum because there has yet to be an objective analysis of the rule’s adverse effects,” Anderson continued.

In its recent comment letter to the department, NAFA noted that the regulatory impact analysis used to justify the rule “was flawed in numerous ways, and axiomatically defective because it failed to account at all for the positive effects of commissions in the fixed annuity industry which encourage agents to help consumers purchase annuities as opposed to leaving money in low-earning CDs or riskier investments.”

NAFA is also appealing a federal court’s denial of its bid to block the fiduciary rule.

Pam Heinrich, NAFA’s general legal counsel, told ThinkAdvisor in mid-March that “we are keeping all of our options open at this time, including seeking extraordinary relief.”

Eric Marhoun, chair of NAFA’s DOL steering and litigation committee, who’s also executive vice president and general counsel for Fidelity & Guarantee Life in Des Moines, told ThinkAdvisor in a Monday interview that NAFA’s briefing before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is set for June 16.

DOL as well as the Justice Department must file their brief 30 days later, and NAFA will then have to issue a reply brief within 15 days.

“We’re hoping that we’ll have oral arguments in the fall and that our appeal will lead to the repeal of Labor’s fiduciary rules,” Marhoun said.

— Check out David Gergen Handicaps the Republican Agenda on ThinkAdvisor.


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