Joint Statement: Another Step Forward for Retirement Savers

CONTACT Carter Dougherty

Late yesterday, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced that he had found “no principled legal basis” for further delaying implementation of the Department’s conflict of interest (or “fiduciary”) rule and that the rule’s core impartial conduct standards would therefore become applicable as scheduled on June 9. The Save Our Retirement coalition issued the following statement in response.

This is an important victory for retirement savers that brings them one step closer to receiving the trustworthy, best interest advice they expect and deserve when they turn to financial professionals for help with their retirement investments. We applaud Secretary Acosta for recognizing that the rulemaking record does not support further delay and for resisting pressure from industry rule opponents to delay the rule regardless.

If Secretary Acosta brings the same fair-minded approach to the reconsideration of the rule, he can only conclude that the rule is sound, that it enjoys strong support among workers and retirees who benefit from its protection, and that it is already delivering tremendous benefits in the form of reduced conflicts, reduced costs, and improved investment advice. Unfortunately, his view of the rule to date appears to have been shaped exclusively by industry rule opponents who stand to lose billions in excess profits if the rule goes forward as intended.

Retirement savers need an enforceable fiduciary standard and a Department of Labor that is prepared to hold firms accountable for compliance. Until the full complement of rule requirements takes effect, their hard earned savings will continue to be at risk as a result of conflicted advice from too many financial professionals who put their own financial interests ahead of their customers’ best interests. Yesterday’s decision was an important step forward, but there is still a long road ahead.