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Scott, Murray Press Trump Administration for Extended Comment Period on Weakened Retiree Protection

07.02.20

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), House Education and Labor Committee and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia calling for the Department of Labor to extend the comment period for its recent proposal to replace an Obama-era retirement protection—which Scalia fought in court to strike down prior to being nominated to lead the Department—with a weaker version which would let financial advisors put their own interests ahead of their clients’.

“We write to request that the comment period be extended for the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) recently proposed rule entitled ‘Improving Investment Advice for Workers and Retirees.’ Contrary to its name, the proposed rule does not require financial advisors to abide by a fiduciary standard when providing retirement investment advice. Unscrupulous advisors could still prioritize their financial interests and profit motives over that of their clients’ retirement interests,” wrote the Members.

“The DOL only provided 30 days to submit comments on the proposed rule, an insufficient time for the American public to review and respond to a complex, 123-page proposed rule.  Specifically, the proposed rule requires familiarity with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) 770-page ‘Regulation Best Interest: The Broker-Dealer Standard of Conduct,’ and significantly impacts the retirement savings landscape for advisers and retirement savers alike. The DOL owes it to the public to take the time to meaningfully engage with people about their concerns rather than rushing through a rule that would seriously damage the retirement security of people across the country.  During the middle of a pandemic, when people across the country are grappling with severe economic and health challenges, it is as important as ever for the DOL not to arbitrarily and unfairly rush through this process.”

In the letter the Members note that a previous fiduciary standard proposal had a comment period over twice as long as what has been outlined in this case, and that the Department’s rule is not only over 120 pages but requires an understanding of a 770-page SEC regulation. 

Read the full letter here.

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