What took the Department of Labor five years to accomplish will take lawmakers just over a month. A group of bipartisan lawmakers said Friday they plan to introduce a legislative proposal to ensure advisors act in their clients' best interests before Congress breaks for the holidays.
Representatives Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), and John Larson (D-Conn.) issued a joint statement that they will soon introduce a bill aimed at aimed at encouraging Americans to save for retirement and requiring retirement advisors to act in their clients’ best interests.
The bipartisan lawmakers, all part of the House Education and Workforce Committee, first proposed a legislative solution in early November followed by a hearing this week where witnesses, including the CFP Board and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, provided insights on the Labor Department’s proposal and the state of the wider retirement landscape.
“The growing bipartisan interest we have seen demonstrates the continued concerns many have with the department’s approach and the need for Congress to offer a responsible solution. While we still have a few details to finalize, we are optimistic we will introduce a bill before Congress breaks for the holidays,” the statement said.
The lawmakers’ sentiment was echoed in a separate letter two senators sent to Labor Secretary Perez on Tuesday, contending Congress has an important role to play in the fiduciary debate.
“Unlike any other actor in retirement policy, Congress has jurisdiction over every aspect of the savings landscape—from workplace retirement plans and individual savings accounts, to the sales professionals and investment advisors that support American families and businesses in their retirement savings choices,” according to the letter signed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.).
The letter noted that Congressional involvement could include a legislative solution that would impose a fiduciary standard on brokers. It also could include working in coordination with the Labor Department by offering input and receiving updates on the agency’s proposed rule.
“We appreciate your engagement with Congress on the rulemaking and your continued support for the involvement of Congress in any major changes to our retirement system. We look forward to an open and productive dialogue on this critical public policy issue,” the letter said.