(Image: Chris Nicholls/ALM)

The recent lawsuits filed against the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest by seven states are “more political posturings” than “credible, legal maneuvers” and are unlikely to succeed, according to ERISA attorney Brad Campbell of Drinker Biddle.

The recent lawsuits by the state attorneys general show they believe Reg BI “was not the right policy solution,” Campbell said on Drinker Biddle’s recent Inside the Beltway webcast. The lawsuit “fits in” with the actions by some states to pursue their own fiduciary regulations.

The lawsuits are “more indicative of a political split and a policy split between the federal government and the states,” said Campbell, the former head of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Jim Lundy, partner in Drinker Biddle’s Chicago office, added that he believes the SEC “will do everything to be successful” in fighting the lawsuits. “I do think the [legal] challenges [against Reg BI] will be unsuccessful.”

He reminded attendees that the legal challenges are only against Reg BI and not the other parts of the SEC’s advice-standards package, like Form CRS.

“Compliance needs to proceed,” Lundy warned.

Campbell agreed: “It almost doesn’t matter how these [lawsuits] play out. We don’t have time to wait to deal with the implementation given the amount of work that has to happen by broker-dealers between now and June. We have to go full steam ahead because there isn’t any other practical option.”

Sandra Grannum, a partner in the firm’s Litigation Group, added that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority “has made a point telling its members: Get ready. Our expectation is that we will be enforcing as to Reg BI come July 2020.”

Added Fred Reish, partner in Drinker Biddle’s Los Angeles office: “I think the odds are pretty long that these lawsuits will be successful.”

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