With advisors actively mobilized against the Department of Labor’s fiduciary proposal, the Financial Services Institute is now turning its sights to investors with a new initiative that gives consumers a chance to weigh in.
The industry group launched a microsite, www.MySavingsMyChoice.com, on Wednesday that allows investors to plug in basic information (name, address, email address) into a database that automatically matches them with their representatives in Congress. From there, they can electronically send four letters to their two U.S. senators, House representative and Labor Secretary Tom Perez voicing concern over the proposed fiduciary rulemaking.
The form letter reads:
“I fear, however, that the DOL proposal, as currently written will restrict these choices, increase my costs, and potentially jeopardize my current relationship with my financial advisor… Saving for retirement is already difficult enough. As a concerned retirement investor, I urge you and your staff to work with financial advisors like mine to make changes to the current proposal so that it will protect my right to choose how and from whom I receive critical retirement advice and services.”
The initiative breaks new ground for FSI, which up until this point, had focused on getting firms and advisors involved in the discussion with Congress and the Labor Department, says Chris Paulitz, senior vice president of membership and marketing for FSI.
“Members of Congress respond to their constituents,” Paulitz says. “The more investors we can get to write in saying this is a concern of ours, then we know the Department of Labor will take that seriously and members of Congress, who we need to work with the Department of Labor on this, will take this seriously.”
FSI will be working through its members to get clients involved and is scheduled to send out additional information on the initiative tomorrow and suggested email language for advisors to use in client communications. Additionally the organization will keep track of the number of consumer letters that are sent.
“This is a way to greatly mobilize everyone who is involved, from the firm to the advisor to the client, who benefits from working with the advisor,” Paulitz says, noting that advisors do not need to be members of FSI in order to direct their clients to the site. The site has already garnered several letters sent by early-responding investors.
The letter-writing campaign will be a long-term effort on behalf of FSI, likely stretching into the fall, Paulitz adds. The industry group has also spearheaded several campaigns on behalf of advisors, who have sent “thousands” of letters to Congressional leaders and regulators on the proposed fiduciary rule.