Top News

IRI Launches DOL Fiduciary Grassroots

IRI launched its initial grassroots advocacy campaign designed to educate and raise awareness among members of Congress about the potential harm the 2023 Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule can cause to retirement savers. The letter is to be sent to all congressional offices and highlights key points against the proposal:

The DOL’s proposal is a rehashing of the 2016 Fiduciary Rule.
More than 10 million retirement savers lost access to professional financial guidance under the 2016 Rule.
People of color could see a 20 percent increase in the racial wealth gap.
Existing federal and state laws provide a strengthened and robust regulatory framework, making the DOL’s new proposal duplicative.
Access to lifetime income solutions is vital to ensuring Americans do not run out of savings during retirement.

“If adopted, the proposal will deepen our nation’s retirement security crisis by limiting access to affordable and sound professional financial advice and access to financial products,” says the letter. “I ask you, as a member of Congress, to oppose this proposed rule. Your opposition to this rule is the only way to ensure that your constituents can retain access to professional financial advice and products that best fit their needs.”

IRI shared its campaign with its member companies and asked that it be disseminated with their employee grassroots advocacy network. If you are interested in participating, please have your company’s government affairs representatives contact John Jennings

Legislative News

House Adopts Amendments Blocking DOL Fiduciary Proposal

On November 15, the House of Representatives adopted three policy amendments to the Fiscal Year 2024 Department of Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill aimed at the 2023 DOL Fiduciary Rule proposal. The amendments were proposed by Representatives Rick Allen (R-GA), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Ralph Norman (R-SC).

  • The Allen amendment restricts and prohibits any funds made available by the appropriations law to be used by DOL to finalize, implement, or enforce the proposed rule entitled “Retirement Security Rule: Definition of an Investment Advice Fiduciary” or any substantially similar rule.

  • The Wagner amendment prohibits the DOL from using funds to finalize, implement, or enforce proposed amendments to class-prohibited transaction exemptions (PTEs) available to investment advice fiduciaries.

  • The Norman amendment prohibits funding to carry out the actions described in the fact sheet released by the White House related to cracking down on junk fees in retirement investment advice.

Prior to the vote, IRI sent a message to all members of the House of Representatives, noting support for a yes vote on the amendments. The message explained IRI’s opposition to the proposal, including the harm to low- and middle-income workers, its redundancy, and the limits it places on access to lifetime income products.

Following the adoption of the amendments, IRI, along with ACLI, NAIFA, NAFA, and Finseca, issued a joint trades press release commending the action of the House to adopt these amendments. 

The White House issued a statement of administration policy stating, “If the President were presented with H.R. 5894, he would veto it.” The statement pointed to several sections of the bill that contained policy riders for other DOL rules that would prohibit the use of funds for the department to advance or enforce regulations that were priorities for the White House.

IRI will continue to monitor the progress of these amendments and the Fiscal Year 2024 Department of Labor-HHS appropriations bill.

Foxx Responds to DOL’s Denial of Comment Extension

Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su on November 17, calling on the Department to extend the public comment period for the proposed fiduciary rule. “DOL’s proposed comment period lasts only 39 working days, as there are multiple federal holidays during this period. This time is inadequate for the retirement community to digest the consequences of the Proposal fully and to provide meaningful feedback,” says the letter. “[EBSA Assistant Secretary Lisa Gomez’s] statement seems to confirm that the public is being served a regurgitation of the same old rule and that EBSA has predetermined the outcome in violation of the [Administrative Procedure Act].

IRI is continuing to monitor actions taken by members of Congress regarding the DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule.

Kaine, Cassidy Introduce Bill to Lowering Age to Access Employer-Sponsored Savings

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Helping Young Americans Save for Retirement Act on November 15. The bill would lower the participation age of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)-covered defined contribution plans to 18 years old under certain situations. Additionally, the bill delays ERISA mandatory audits if a plan allows employees under age 21 to contribute and exempts 18 to 20-year-olds from testing related to retirement funds.

In a press statement, Sen. Kaine said, “Youn people who are starting out their careers should be able to access employer-sponsored retirement plans like everyone else. This bipartisan bill would help more Americans access critical retirement benefits and put them on a path to a better financial future.”

Sen. Cassidy added, “Americans who decide to enter the workforce instead of going to college should be able to have every opportunity to save for retirement. This legislation increases those opportunities and empowers working Americans to plan for a secure retirement.”

IRI will continue to monitor the Helping Young Americans Save for Retirement Act and is engaging its Government Affairs Committee to determine next steps.

Regulatory News

SEC Approves FINRA Remote Inspections Pilot Program and Residential Supervisory Location Rule Changes

On November 17, the SEC approved FINRA’s proposed changes to adopt a three-year remote inspections pilot program to allow eligible member firms to fulfill their internal inspections obligations under FINRA Rule 3110 by conducting remote inspections of eligible branch offices, offices of supervisory jurisdiction (OSJs), and non-branch locations without an on-site visit. Additionally, the SEC approved FINRA’s proposal to adopt changes that would treat a private residence, in which an associated person engages in specified supervisory activities, as a non-branch location. Both of these amendments are, of course, subject to specific safeguards and limitations. IRI is reviewing the final rules and will work with the relevant committees to support members as they become effective.

Florida Commences Rulemaking to Adopt NAIC Best Interest Model Form

On Monday, November 20, the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) is holding a workshop to develop their disclosure forms pursuant to the best interest model legislation adopted earlier this year. A draft of the proposed rule was circulated, and it appears that the DFS is planning to incorporate the NAIC Model Appendices by reference, thereby doing away with their Florida-specific forms. IRI will continue to monitor the rulemaking process and keep members apprised of any updates.

IRI Calendar

SECURE 2.0 Implementation Task Force
November 21 | Cancelled


Compliance and Implementation Committee
November 22 | Cancelled and Rescheduled


Government Affairs Committee
November 29 | 3 p.m. EST 


Webinar: From an Idea to a Movement: Choosing Self-Confidence + Finding Our Strengths
December 7 | 1 p.m. EST | Register