Dems pen fiduciary rules concerns

In a letter to Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, a coalition of Democratic members of Congress expressed concerns about the DOL’s upcoming re-release of its fiduciary rules.

The rules won’t be released until sometime in August, but they are expected to establish a procedure that would call for brokers who sell IRAs to follow the same investment advice standards as registered investment advisors.

In their letter, the Democratic Congressmen said that any definition “should not limit access to investment education and information. We certainly want to protect plan participants, IRA owners, and plan sponsors from unfair and deceptive practices. But this should be done in a way that does not restrict access to critical investment assistance,” the letter stated.

The coalition is concerned that the way the fiduciary rules were initially proposed would inadvertently restrict the availability of investment help to low- and middle-income individuals and small businesses. They pointed out that the original rule could have created problems under existing prohibited transaction rules and limited plan participants’ access to investment advice even when it was in their best interest.

The group’s second point is that there needs to be coordination with other regulators to ensure that all regulatory efforts with respect to fiduciary standards work together in a way that serves retirement savers effectively.

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