With only three weeks until the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule is set to kick in, the National Association for Fixed Annuities continues its full-court press in urging Labor to further delay the rule.
Eric Marhoun, chairman of NAFA’s DOL steering and litigation committee, who’s also executive vice president and general counsel for Fidelity & Guaranty Life in Des Moines, told ThinkAdvisor in a Friday interview that “based on recent conversations and meetings with representatives of the administration and Congress, it is my impression that the administration is considering all options for further delaying the DOL rule, including an interim final rule or Section 705 relief – which I believe to be the top choices for delay at this point.”
While other industry trade groups have been pushing Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta to adopt an interim final rule to bypass comment period restrictions, NAFA is pressing Acosta to consider invoking a provision of the Administrative Procedures Act known as Section 705, which allows delay of any administrative action that is being challenged in court.
NAFA is appealing a federal court’s denial of its bid to block the fiduciary rule in the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals, while other legal challenges are also pending, including an action brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Financial Services Institute in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
But Micah Hauptman, financial services counsel for the Consumer Federation of America, told ThinkAdvisor Friday that DOL “should expect to be sued if it bows to the industry opponents’ pressure and plays fast and loose with its legal requirements.”
The Consumer Federation is a staunch supporter of Labor’s fiduciary rule.