DOL Pressed to Hold Applicability Date for New Analysis

Republican members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce are pushing to see that the applicability date of the fiduciary regulation is fully postponed until the impact has been reassessed.

A letter from the 22 members to Acting Labor Secretary Edward Hugler seeks to clarify that the applicability date of the fiduciary regulation will be delayed until the analysis called for by President Trump is completed – and rescission or appropriate revisions are finalized.

The congressmen said they were pleased when the Labor Department sought comments on the questions posed by President Trump’s Executive Memorandum and the initial proposed delay in applicability of 60 days. These were steps that the letter says made it appear that the Labor Department “recognized how counterproductive it would be for the rule to become applicable before the completion of the analysis ordered in the Memo.”

However, they note that “in announcing the final 60-day delay, the Department was less clear, advising stakeholders to “plan on and prepare for compliance beginning June 9, 2017.”

The congressmen went on to express additional concerns in that “the Department appeared to feel compelled to justify this very modest delay in terms of the purported ‘costs’ of the status quo” enumerated in what they called “the highly questionable RIA” (Regulatory Impact Analysis). The letter calls this “curious” in that the very existence of the Presidential Memo “calls into serious question the credibility of that RIA, as do both the congressional and regulatory records.”

The members said it would be “counterproductive” for the rule to be implemented before conclusion of the DOL’s analysis. In closing, members urged the administration to take further action to protect access to affordable retirement advice: “The Department should not establish an arbitrary applicability date for a regulation that should be rescinded or significantly revised. Instead, we urge you to clarify that the applicability date of the regulation will be delayed until the analysis required by the President’s Memo is completed and rescission or appropriate revisions are finalized.”

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