ABA, associations seek comment extension on proposed fiduciary rule

The American Bankers Association and 17 associations today asked the Department of Labor for an extension of the public comment period for a proposed new rule that would extend fiduciary status to advice on rollovers and investments related to commodities and insurance products like fixed annuities. The proposed rule makes significant and unanticipated changes to the current regulatory framework that will require more time for analysis and comment, as well as more time to understand how this proposal would affect access and choice for retirement savers, the groups said.

The proposed rule would update the definition of an investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to establish the new requirements. The DOL gave the public 60 days to comment on the proposal, but the associations noted it had given the public 90 days to comment when the fiduciary rule was first proposed in 2010, followed by a two-week extension. The agency granted 75 days when the rule was taken up again in 2016, followed by two further extensions. At the same time, the agency is holding a public hearing 45 days into the 60-day comment period for the most recent proposal, giving the public little time to respond to what comes out of the hearing, they said.

“We urge DOL to grant at least a 60-day extension of the comment period for the proposed rule and to schedule the public hearing for a date after the initial comment period closes, followed by an additional 30-day comment period,” the associations said. “Considering that DOL has spent almost three years crafting the proposed rule, it strikes us that affording all interested stakeholders sufficient time to provide meaningful feedback would be in DOL’s interest.”