Preston Rutledge (Photo: Senate HELP)

Members of the Senate confirmed Preston Rutledge as the head of the Employee Benefits Security Administration Thursday, by a voice vote.

Rutledge, who will be an assistant secretary of Labor, succeeds Phyllis Borzi.

Rutledge has been the senior tax and benefits counsel for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

(Related: Trump Names New EBSA Chief to Replace Borzi)

Before going to work for Hatch, Rutledge was a tax law specialist at the Internal Revenue Service. He has also worked as a benefits lawyer in private practice.

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho, a law degree from George Washington University, and an L.L.M. in taxation from Georgetown University.

As the head of EBSA, Rutledge will oversee a low-profile division of the U.S. Department of Labor that shapes and administers group benefits regulation.

EBSA is the DOL division that drafted the DOL’s fiduciary rule, as well as the regulations implementing the group benefits plan provisions of the Affordable Care Act and of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

EBSA has also been working on an overhaul of group disability plan claim administration standards. EBSA recently announced a short delay in efforts to implement the group disability standards.

The American Council of Life Insurers and the Insured Retirement Institute put out statements welcoming the Rutledge confirmation.

Dirk Kempthorne, the president of the ACLI, said Rutledge has shown a strong understanding of the financial and retirement security challenges Americans are facing.

Lee Covington, IRI’s general counselor, said IRI hopes to work with EBSA on proposals that could increase retirement savings and boost use of lifetime income products.

—Read Feds Officially Delay Obama-Era Group Disability Regs, a Little on ThinkAdvisor.

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