Op-Ed: Congress Must Stand Up to Fiduciary Proposal

In a joint op-ed with several trade group CEOs today, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols voiced his opposition to the Department of Labor’s proposal to redefine who counts as a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The CEOs argued in Morning Consult that as written, the rule would restrict the availability of products and services — such as 401(k)s and IRAs and retirement planning — for millions of savers, and would likely lead to higher fees and more limited access to financial advice, particularly for lower and middle-income Americans.

“The proposal disregards legal protections already in place that could serve consumers well if properly enforced,” they wrote. “It attacks the integrity of thousands of financial professionals who work hard every day to help millions of Americans plan for a secure future.”

The DoL has received more than 3,500 comment letters calling for substantive changes to the proposal, and the CEOs pointed out that think tanks, members of Congress and regulators alike have also expressed reservations about the rule. They also called on more lawmakers to support the alternative bipartisan legislative efforts currently underway to incorporate a “best interest” standard into existing laws.

“With so many policymakers from both sides of the aisle agreeing that professional financial advisors should act in the best interest of clients, another polarizing Washington, D.C. regulation forced on America is counterproductive and unnecessary,” the groups’ CEOs concluded.

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