ACLI statement on SEC's "Regulation Best Interest" proposal, 08/03/2018
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling vacating the Department of Labor’s fiduciary regulation in its entirety is a great win for Americans saving for retirement. The fiduciary regulation harmed small and moderate retirement savers by restricting or eliminating access to retirement products and services. The court’s decision will help ensure access to a wide range of financial planning services and products, including annuities – the only product in the marketplace that guarantees lifetime income. We agree with the court’s conclusion that when enacting ERISA, “Congress was well aware of the distinction…between investment advisers, who were considered fiduciaries, and stockbrokers and insurance agents, who generally assumed no such status in selling products to their clients. The fiduciary rule improperly dispenses with this distinction.”
While we are pleased with the court’s decision, we recognize that the courts are not the appropriate forum for policymaking. We support reasonable and appropriately tailored rules that require all sales professionals to act in the best interest of their customers. We have reviewed the Securities and Exchange Commission's proposed standard of conduct for broker-dealers, and we look forward to working with the SEC, state insurance regulators, the Labor Department, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Congress on a harmonized and uniform best interest standard of care for financial professionals. A collaborative approach would ensure all consumers receive retirement savings information and related financial guidance from financial professionals acting in their best interest, regardless of the retirement products they purchase.