Additional Democratic Senators Submit Letter to DOL Concerning Fiduciary Proposal

Eight Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee submitted a letter to the DOL to “comment on the recently re-proposed [DOL] regulations defining who is a fiduciary of an employee benefit plan or individual retirement plan under ERISA.”

The Senators recommended that the DOL: (i) clarify the “best interest contract (“BIC”) exemption” by utilizing a more workable contract requirement and include listed options in the definition of assets; (ii) expand the capability of financial professionals to provide specific investment education on retirement plans; (iii) continue to encourage small businesses to sponsor their own small retirement plans; (iv) revisit the BIC exemption disclosure requirements to ensure functionality; (v) continue access to investment advice from financial advisers during rollover period; (vi) provide a level playing field for all advisers in compensation arrangements; (vii) carefully scrutinize its guidance to ensure that it does not disfavor lifetime income options over other investment options; (viii) consider further transition issues, such as the possible protection of advice provided before the applicability date and advice that was paid for before the applicability date but not provided until after the applicability date; (ix) continue coordinating with the IRS to work towards finalizing IRA guidance; and (x) ensure that the ability to make referrals to advisory programs is maintained and access to constructive online tools is not restricted.

Lofchie Comment: The Senators’ letter is a further expression of the diversity and the extensive strength of opposition to the DOL’s rule proposal.