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EBSA to Hold (Virtual) Hearing on Fiduciary Rule

Regulatory Agencies

Labor DepartmentLate last Friday afternoon, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced that it will hold a public hearing on its new fiduciary rule proposal.

Specifically, the notice, which is expected to be published in the Aug. 25 Federal Register, is being held “to consider issues attendant to adopting a proposed prohibited transaction exemption on Improving Investment Advice for Workers and Retirees.”

In announcing the hearing, EBSA noted that, “since publication in the Federal Register, there has been considerable interest expressed regarding the proposed prohibited transaction exemption, as well as several public comments requesting a hearing.” In response, EBSA says it “has decided to hold a public hearing on this proposed prohibited transaction exemption to provide commenters an opportunity to present material factual issues that cannot be fully explored through written submission.”

The notice says that testimony will be limited to individuals or parties who submitted, in accordance with the instructions included in the proposed prohibited transaction exemption, a comment or hearing request on the proposed exemption before the close of the comment period.

Outlines of remarks submitted by potential witnesses “should present material factual issues and demonstrate that the proposed testimony is both germane to factual issues needing exploration at the hearing that could not have been submitted in writing, and not duplicative of arguments and factual material previously included in the requestor’s comment letter,” EBSA says.

That said, “due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing will be held virtually and there will be no in-person testimony”—on Thursday, Sept. 3 and (if necessary) Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, beginning at 9 a.m. (EDT).

Requests to testify at the hearing on the proposed exemption are to be submitted to the Department on or before Aug. 28, 2020.