Less than 1% of surveyed employer-sponsored retirement plans offer an annuity option. Are today’s retirement plan fiduciaries fulfilling their duty when they don’t recommend the only product that guarantees lifetime income and protects savings from stock market losses? Will the Department of Labor’s “Conflict of Interest” Rule protect consumers, provide more consistent and effective advisor oversight, and cause less confusion and more clarity to individuals saving for retirement? Or, will it impose immense costs and confusion on consumers seeking retirement guidance and on businesses providing it?
Americans for Annuity Protection believes that the proposed Rule, if enacted as written, will be devastating to consumers who seek the protection, security, and guarantee that only annuities provide. Today, the only option when annuities aren’t offered by employers is to roll their savings into an annuity IRA. The Rule seeks to make this harder and costlier for consumers. We believe that annuities afford middle and lower income Americans financial independence and peace of mind they cannot get from other retirement products. Unfortunately, consumers seeking this independence are not being heard in Washington. Their best interests are being sadly ignored.
Both sides of the issue agree that consumers who are saving for the future should have unfettered access to unbiased and reliable advice about their retirement savings options. They should have their choice of knowledgeable professionals who will work to understand their unique financial goals and funding requirements and who will ensure their interests are paramount in the recommendation of any retirement product.
Americans for Annuity Protection rejects claims stating that those saving for retirement will be better served by the Rule. These claims are fueled by brazen misinformation and inaccurate analysis about annuity buyers and the annuity marketplace. If we do not act now, consumers seeking the security that only annuities provide will be left to fend for themselves with fewer choices and higher costs.
1. Educate and Correct
Americans for Annuity Protection was founded by the industry’s leading experts on annuities and the annuity marketplace. We understand how annuities work to protect Americans’ savings.
Our research experts will demonstrate the flawed reasoning that proponents use to support the Rule. Our experts will provide factual studies that show how the Rule discriminates against average Americans and minorities in particular. In fact, the only regulatory study done comparing fiduciary vs suitability complaints/enforcement found that regulators had 11 times more actions against fiduciaries.
Our advocacy experts will utilize existing relationships and strong contacts to provide the most effective support and action from those who can influence the best consumer outcomes. Tireless campaigners, we have successfully worked to defeat a number of regulations or actions that would have been harmful to consumers and we will once again use energy, influence and outreach to ensure the most successful outcome for annuity consumers.
2. Provide a Better Solution
Americans for Annuity Protection believes obtaining insurance advice about how to best protect your retirement savings and secure income you cannot outlive is critical to American prosperity and should not be minimalized or ignored. Insuring savings is an important part of the retirement equation and those who provide insurance advice are appropriately and vigorously regulated by strong state insurance laws. We will:
- Work on multiple strategic fronts to change the proposed Rule.
- Educate all stakeholders about the consumer protections in place today.
- Seek congressional action to retain the existing annuity exemption outlined in ERISA 1974.
- Preserve consumers’ rights to freely explore annuity choices and purchase annuities that best meet their savings ability and future income security no matter what economic class they represent.
Our lobbying experts have decades of combined experience and the team at West Front Strategies understands government at all levels. Each partner has served in senior roles in government, providing the knowledge and the know-how to achieve results. They will provide us with not just one but multiple experts from the inside political workings of Washington. Our lobbying experts aren’t ex-legislators or merely connected with legislators and regulators, they worked with and for legislators and regulators.
3. Enact the Solution
Americans for Annuity Protection is not motivated to gain financially from the sale of an annuity or influenced by scoring political points. We are motivated by the belief that ALL Americans deserve to prosper and live the life of their dreams after they leave the workforce.
Our marketing experts will provide leading edge outreach and grassroots platforms that engage annuity owners and those considering annuities to talk to those with influence and ask them to maintain unfettered access to competitive annuities and competent professionals. Using a “Hill-approved” networking system that communicates using social media, along with traditional email, we will use petitions and testimonials to raise the voice of consumers who are not adequately represented or heard from today. Our grassroots activities will educate legislators and regulators on the devastating impact the Rule will have on Americans saving for retirement.