House committees pass bills changing scope of fiduciary rule

February 4, 2016

WASHINGTON (2/4/16)--Two House committees passed two bills that would change the scope of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule, sending the bills for House consideration. The two bills are the Affordable Retirement Advice Protection Act (H.R. 4293) and the Strengthening Access to Valuable Education and Retirement Support Act (H.R. 4294).

The House Education and Workforce Committee passed both bills by a 22-14 vote Tuesday, and the House Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 4294 by a 22-12 vote Wednesday.

Together, the bills would require an affirmative vote by Congress before any final rule from the DOL goes into effect. If Congress fails to approve the proposal, a new fiduciary standard would take effect.

The new standard would:

  • Require advisers to serve in their clients’ best interests;
  • Require advisers to clearly communicate key information to ensure investors are well-informed to make investment choices; and
  • Ensure that individuals and families saving for retirement have access to advice and investment options to meet their individual needs and circumstances.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA)  has supported legislation that would prevent the DOL from implementing its fiduciary rule. The rule would redefine who is considered a “fiduciary” and CUNA believes it would detrimentally impact credit union members and credit unions that offer investment services.

CUNA submitted a comment letter in July and followed it up with a second letter after a four-day hearing conducted by the DOL. CUNA has also reached out to members of Congress and the National Credit Union Administration requesting intervention.

In October, 205 lawmakers signed a letter calling for substantial changes to the proposal.

According to reports, the rule has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget and will likely be finalized within 90 days.