The groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit for a rehearing en banc — before all the judges of the court. On March 15, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 to vacate the rule.
DOL has until April 30 to appeal the 5th Circuit’s ruling. AARP states in its filing that it “has concerns that DOL itself might not request a rehearing.”
Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer, said in a statement that “AARP is not giving up on our fight to make sure that hard-earned retirement savings have strong protections from conflicts and hidden fees. Many financial advisors already give advice with the public’s best interests in mind. But the recent court decision allows some financial advisors to provide guidance based on what’s best for their pocketbooks, not the consumers.’”
“Retirement investors need and deserve advice in their best interest,” said David Certner, AARP’s legislative policy director, on a Thursday morning call with reporters.
“The DOL rule was long overdue,” he said, adding that protecting the rule “is a big issue for AARP” as the rule is “critical to retirement income savings.”
As to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new standard of conduct proposal for brokers and advisors, Certner said that the SEC and Labor have different jurisdictions. “Regardless of where the SEC is going, the DOL rule is a strong rule and necessary in its own right.”
Certner added that the SEC, in its proposal, “is talking also about a best-interest standard, but we need to delve into further into how they are defining a best-interest standard.”
Mary Ellen Signorille, senior attorney for litigation at AARP Foundation, noted on the call that AARP filed its motions because “we have not heard anything from the DOL that they would file for a petition of rehearing.”
She explained that the court does not have to render a decision on AARP and the state AGs’ requests before April 30, which is the deadline for Labor to file an appeal.