The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires fiduciaries of pension plans to perform certain due diligence on service providers and plan investments. This helps ensure that the fiduciary is acting in the best interest of the plan's participants.The Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a change to the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that would have expanded the scope of those who become fiduciaries, which will capture more of the current services of 401(k) and IRA providers. This proposal would lead to a number of negative consequences for individual investors, including limiting investor choice, limiting investor access to education regarding retirement accounts, and increased costs for saving.
After significant objections were raised by SIFMA and numerous other groups and Members of Congress, the DOL announced it would withdraw and re-propose the definition of fiduciary regulation while also conducting further economic analysis. The proposal would affect millions of IRA holders and plan participants with assets expect to reach $7.3 trillion by 2016. The DOL is expected to issue a re-proposal in early 2015.
To date, 149 Representatives and 34 Senators have sent a letter, including 118 Democrats and 65 Republicans, to the Department of Labor and Office of Management and Budget raising concerns with the proposed regulation and expected re-proposal. These concerns have ranged from the impact on an individuals’ choice of provider to potential unintended consequences limiting access to education for millions of individuals saving for retirement.
*See also our page on Fiduciary Standard
SIFMA believes the Department of Labor (DOL) proposal is an overbroad expansion of the fiduciary standard that will undermine efforts by employers and service providers to educate workers on the importance of responsible retirement planning. SIFMA is concerned that this proposal will limit investment choices and drive up costs for the individuals it is intended to protect.