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Perez Nixes Comment Period Extension

The Department of Labor will not extend the 75-day comment period for its conflict-of-interest rule, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said April 23.

Asked about his response to requests by industry groups to extend the comment period, ThinkAdvisor reports that Perez said: “The comment period is 75 days, followed by a public hearing and publication of the transcript followed by another opportunity to comment on it; that’s all in the aftermath of 18 months of informal outreach. That’s a long time that we’ve provided, and we’ll make sure we’ve heard people’s voices.” 

In an April 21 letter to regulators, a large group of industry trade associations, including the American Retirement Association, asked the EBSA to extend the comment period to 120 days. The letter cites the “breadth and far reaching modifications that will be required to meet the conditions to the exemptive relief that the Department perceives as important for the protection of the interests of retirement investors.” 

If Perez’ remarks represent the final word on the subject, the comment period will end on Monday, July 6.

Meanwhile, the proposed rule is facing opposition from Senate Democrats. According to a report by Bloomberg, a group including Sens. John Tester (D-MT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Gary Peters (D-MI) met with Perez to argue that the complex rule could backfire and make it harder for consumers to get investment advice.