What an ANNUITY week!
Americans for Annuity Protection were on the Hill talking to significant members of Congress who head the various committees and subcommittees that can influence the DOL Fiduciary Rule and the Best Interest Contract. The Legislative Directors from Financial Services (House), Education & Work Force Subcommittee, who have direct oversight of the DOL (HOUSE) and the Senate version (also with direct oversight), the Health, Education, Labor & Pension Subcommittee. We also met with the key members from Senator Isakson’s (R- GA) to help them ahead of the Senator’s Hearing. AAP also submitted a letter of support for the Senator’s work. Please email us for your copy of the letter.
We also filed a media response to the inaccurate and incomplete Motley Fool article. Please email us for your personal copy.
Tuesday was the due date for comments on the DOL’s proposal and on that same day we met with more Senate influencers and capped off our DC trip with an unprecedented 95 minute meeting. Those in attendance with AAP were the Department of Labor Directors and staff of the Office of Regulations and Interpretations (in charge of the Conflict of Interest Contract) and the Office of Exemption Determinations (in charge of the PTE 84-24).
We were joined by Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi who asked many good questions about our consumer-focus and unique emphasis on accurate, helpful and actionable information about annuities and their role in retirement and financial planning. We also were able to share our newest Board members – ahead of the official AAP Press Release – stay tuned next week. We have written a story for InsuranceNewsNet.com on the meeting, what we learned and what we still need to do!
Please stay tuned as the Department is keen on providing a court path (i.e., class action litigation and individual legal claims) to consumers who are sold annuity IRAs based on conflicted interest advice. AAP believes that this will drive annuity agents and advisors from the annuity business and harm consumers by increasing their costs for retirement advice and limit their access to experience and personalized help – especially those located miles from the largest cities in towns across America.
Almost 800 comments were submitted just in the nick of time before midnight Tuesday. A good report and a compilation of the views can be found here.
Labor Secretary Perez states publically that his is ‘flexible’ on fiduciary rule. He also emphasized to lawmakers that the ‘Final decisions’ on how to modify fiduciary redraft have not been made yet. We are very flexible in how to get this [rulemaking] done,” Perez told members of the subcommittee. “We haven’t made any decisions yet on what to do [regarding amending the redraft] because the comment period is still open. But we’ve gotten some great advice,” LifeHealthPro reports.
DOL’s 90-day comment period expired Tuesday and will be followed by a series of public hearings the week of Aug. 10. The comment period will reopen on the day of the hearing and remain open until 14 days after the hearing transcript is published — a process DOL anticipates will provide an additional 30 to 45 days of public comment. See full story here.
Melanie Waddell, Washington Bureau Chief Investment Advisor Magazine reports that the House GOP Tells DOL to Scrap Fiduciary Plan and the House Education and Workforce members say DOL ‘steamrolling’ stakeholders’ objections.
The WEEK Ahead
Every office we visited on the Hill said they need constituents to get engaged. AAP will launch our grassroots campaign next week and ask agents, advisors and brokers to provide consumer testimonials to a key influencers in Congress. We will also be asking agents to comment on the impact to their businesses and likely services that will affect their clients. Any help you can provide pushing our TAKE ACTION out the door would be a tremendous help. WE ONLY HAVE UNTIL AUGUST 10th to have a serious impact.
The A LIST of this week’s ARTICLES, TWEETS & POSTS
Social Security Is Here to Stay, and Advisors Are Studying Up
Whatever Social Security looks like in the long term, it's not going away, and advisors are streaming into The American College's RICP program. Read more
Perez says DOL fiduciary debate shifts from whether to how The Secretary of Labor told lawmakers on Tuesday that the conversation has shifted to focus on how to make a new standard work.
FINRA Blasts DOL’s Fiduciary Redraft as ‘Fractured, Confusing’ In its 21-page comment letter, FINRA tells DOL to modify its plan so that BDs do not abandon small accounts. Read more
Obama’s Big Idea for Small Savers: ‘Robo’ Financial Advice The Wall Street Journal reports that if “you’re not on a path to a secure retirement, the White House suggests it’s because an evil broker is ripping you off. If you’re a Democratic policy maker worried about retirement savings for the little guy, would you deny millions of small savers access to financial advisers in ways that could cost them $80 billion in the next market downturn? Would you ask working families to pay more to keep the adviser they have?”
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