Regulatory changes

SIFMA, FSR praise Department of Labor’s delay of fiduciary rule

Department of LaborIndustry groups praised the Department of Labor last week after it announced a proposed fiduciary rule would be delayed until at least 2015 as a result of changes to its regulatory schedule.

Proposed by the Department of Labor in 2010, the fiduciary rule could, according to the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), restrict access to retirement planning advice.

The rule would require financial advisors to retirement plans to act as fiduciaries in their clients’ best interests; it is designed to protect advisers from conflicts of interest and consumers from abusive or deceitful practices.

“Americans face big challenges as they try to save for retirement, and they don’t need a regulation which adds more costs but doesn’t really add more consumer protection,” FSR CEO and President Tim Pawlenty said. “We are pleased the Department of Labor has delayed this rule and hope policymakers will now focus on creating incentives instead of barriers to saving.”

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) said the proposal has been “troubled” one from day one, adding that the SEC, which has its own version of a fiduciary rule to regulate the conduct of broker-dealers and advisers, should act.

“Premature actions by the DOL, whether now or in January, could undermine the SEC’s work to improve upon the standard of conduct owed by broker-dealers and investment advisers to retail clients,” SIFMA President and CEO Kenneth Bentsen said. “Any proposal moving forward should appropriately reflect the input of all market participants and continue to protect investor choice and access to investment guidance.”

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