The Department of Labor has offered a new proposal to “improve investment advice and enhance financial choices for workers and retirees.” The standard set by the new proposal would require financial professionals who provide consumers with retirement planning and advice to act in their clients’ best interests, receive only “reasonable” compensation, and make no materially misleading statements to clients.
The new proposal comes after a federal court struck down a previous DOL fiduciary rule in response to a lawsuit brought by NAIFA and other groups. NAIFA feared the earlier proposal would reduce middle- and lower-income retirement savers’ access to products and advice and inhibit them from choosing how they preferred to compensate retirement planning professionals.
The new DOL proposal preserves consumer choice and permits advisor-compensation models that benefit many clients. It also coordinates with an investment advice standard implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission, known as Regulation Best Interest, that bolsters investor protections.
“The Department of Labor’s new proposal will enhance protections for Americans preparing for retirement without disrupting the important relationships between financial professionals and their Main Street clients,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux. “It allows consumers to choose who they want to work with and how they want to pay for services and still be confident that they are receiving advice that is in their best interests.”