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Biden's Pick for Key DOL Post Is Up for Vote; Fiduciary Rule Delay Expected

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What You Need to Know

  • Labor's EBSA oversees regulations on retirement plans, including fiduciary rules for those who advise them.
  • Lisa Gomez is likely to receive a bipartisan Senate confirmation to lead the agency by year-end, lawyer Brad Campbell said.
  • Labor is not going to meet its December deadline to release a new fiduciary rule, Campbell and Reish opine.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee plans to vote Thursday on Lisa Gomez’s nomination to head the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, the agency overseeing retirement plan rules.

In late July, President Joe Biden nominated Gomez, a partner at Cowen Weiss and Simon in New York, to head EBSA.

Brad Campbell, partner at Faegre Drinker’s Washington office and former head of EBSA, said on the law firm’s recent Inside the Beltway webcast that Gomez is likely to receive a bipartisan Senate confirmation by year-end.

During her confirmation hearing before the HELP Committee in early October, Gomez — who will be central in helping Labor craft a new fiduciary rule — said that if confirmed, she looks forward to working with the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as with Labor “to be briefed on the efforts of looking at the definition of a fiduciary in different contexts, and taking another look at the conflict of interest rule and how it would apply in different situations.”

Fiduciary Rule Delay Expected

Campbell said on the webcast that Labor is not going to meet its December deadline to release a new fiduciary rule, and that a new rule wouldn’t likely come until “the end of spring.”

Gomez’s confirmation is not holding up release of the new rule, Campbell opined; rather, Labor is still “working very hard” writing it.

Fred Reish, partner in Faegre Drinker’s Los Angeles office agreed on the webcast that crafting of the rule by Labor “is moving along. But I estimate it would be a heavy lift to get it out as a proposal in December.”

Labor, Campbell stated, is set to release its fall regulatory agenda in a matter of weeks, so “we’ll find out what the new deadline is” for the fiduciary rule then.