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Bipartisan Lawmakers Finalizing Bill to Ensure Retirement Advisors Protect Clients’ Best Interests

December 04, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Republican and Democratic lawmakers today expressed strong optimism that they will soon introduce a legislative proposal to help strengthen the retirement security of working families and ensure retirement advisors protect their clients’ best interests. As bipartisan concerns continue to grow over a regulatory proposal by the Department of Labor that many fear will make it harder for low- and middle-income families to plan for retirement, bipartisan members are working to turn a set of principles into a legislative proposal that will help Americans save for retirement. The members of the bipartisan working group – Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL), Richard Neal (D-MA), Phil Roe (R-TN), and John Larson (D-CT) – issued the following joint statement:

“In recent weeks, we have been working together to draft a legislative proposal reflecting the principles we believe will help Americans save for retirement. The growing bipartisan interest we have seen demonstrates the continued concerns many have with the department’s approach and the need for Congress to offer a responsible solution. While we still have a few details to finalize, we are optimistic we will introduce a bill before Congress breaks for the holidays.”

BACKGROUND: Known as the “fiduciary rule,” the Department of Labor’s regulatory proposal will impose on financial advisors new mandates and regulatory requirements. Bipartisan concerns have been raised that the proposal could cause individuals to lose access to trusted financial advisors, raise the cost of receiving financial advice, and lead to fewer small businesses offering retirement plans. In response, Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced a set of principles to form the basis for a legislative solution that will strengthen retirement security without harming working families and small businesses. Those principles are:

  • Promoting families’ and individuals’ saving for a financially-secure retirement is an essential public policy good.
  • Retirement advisors must serve in their clients’ best interests and must be required to do so.
  • Retirement advisors must deliver clear, simple, and relevant disclosure of material conflicts, including compensation received and all investment fees to individuals saving for retirement.
  • Public policies must protect access to investment advice and education for low- and middle-income workers and retirees.
  • Public policies should never deny individuals the financial information they need to make informed decisions.
  • Investor choice and consumer access to all investment services – such as proprietary products, commission-based sales, and guaranteed lifetime income – should be preserved in a way that does not pick winners and losers.
  • Small business owners should have access to the financial advice and products they need to establish and maintain retirement plans and help workers save for retirement.