House Labor Committee Hearing on Retirement Slated for Wednesday

The House Committee on Labor and Education is scheduled to meet on June 23 at 10:15 a.m. for a hearing entitled “Examining Pathways to Build a Stronger, More Inclusive Retirement System.” The Committee will be reviewing legislative proposals, including the portions of the Securing a Stronger Retirement Act for which the Committee has jurisdiction. IRI will be submitting a statement for the record highlighting 2021 Retirement Security Blueprint proposals, including the authorization of 403(b) pooled employer plans (PEPs), a retirement savings lost and found database, clarifying the fiduciary status of the provider of general account products, utilizing lifetime income options in qualified default investment alternatives, and including exchange trade funds in variable products.

IRI will monitor the hearing and will provide an update in the next edition of GAU.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.  


Sen. Kennedy Introduces Retirement Security Bills

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) recently introduced two bills aimed at increasing retirement savings. The Keeping Your Retirement Act would raise the age at which required minimum distributions must be taken to age 75 starting in 2022. The Increasing Retirement Amount (IRA) Act would increase the contribution limit for IRAs to $12,000 per year, with an additional $3,000 per year for savers over the age of 50. In a press statement, Sen. Kennedy said, “Louisianians work hard every year to prepare to retire responsibly and enjoy the fruits of their labor. They deserve to have more control over their own retirement plans, and that means limiting how much the government meddles here. I introduced these bills to give hardworking Louisianians the freedom to save more of their money on their own terms.”

IRI will continue monitoring Congress for the introduction of legislation promoting retirement security.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.

House Passes ESG Disclosure Legislation

On June 16, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1187, the ESG Disclosure Simplification Act, by a vote of 215 to 214. The bill, introduced by Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA), would require public companies to disclose “a clear description about the link between environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics and long-term business strategy” and a “description of any process” they use “to determine the impact of ESG on long-term” strategy in annual filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The bill would also create a “Sustainable Finance Advisory Committee” which is tasked with “identifying the challenges and opportunities for investors associated with sustainable finance” and to make recommendations to Congress on “policy changes to facilitate the flow of capital towards sustainable investments, in particular environmentally sustainable investments.” The bill has been amended to also include provisions disclosure of corporate political spending, corporate pay, climate risk, and human capital reporting.

IRI will continue to monitor Congress for legislation impacting financial disclosures related to ESG investments.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.

Bennet Presses Yellen on Funding Mechanisms for Infrastructure

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen a question about “American Infrastructure Bonds” which could be utilized to fund a variety of infrastructure projects. The Secretary was receptive to the concept, saying, “It is an important and interesting proposal, our budget proposal does use a tool like that for schools, there is also an additional 15 billion proposed private activity bonds to support transportation, infrastructure, but this is an important area and we would be happy to work with you and your team on how a tool like this could be used to help the nation’s infrastructure. And how it can be coordinated with the infrastructure spending proposals we’ve made.”

In May, Senator Bennet and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the American Infrastructure Bond Act. The bill would create direct-pay taxable “American Infrastructure Bonds” issued by the Department of the Treasury to reduce costs of infrastructure projects for state and local governments. IRI called for the creation opportunities for innovative infrastructure funding mechanisms in the 2021 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint, noting the investment by the insurance industry into the “Build American Bonds” program in 2009.

IRI will continue to monitor Congress for action on legislation creating infrastructure funding bonds.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.

Senate HELP Approves DOL Nominees

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) voted to advance the nomination of Rajesh Nayak for Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy to the full Senate for consideration. Nayak has previously served as a political aide at the Department of Labor during the Obama Administration. In addition to Nayak, the Committee also advanced the nominations of Taryn Mackenzie Williams to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and Doug Parker to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

IRI will continue to monitor the Senate for action on President Biden’s nominees to IRI critical offices.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.


SEC, NASAA, and FINRA Offer Training Guidance to Securities Firms to Assist to Implement Requirements of the Senior Safe Act and Certain State Laws

Last week, the SEC, NASAA and FINRA joined efforts to offer a new guidance resource and training guide addressed to securities firms to best implement the training requirements and legal and administrative immunity set forth in the Senior Safe Act. The Senior Safe Act was included as Section 303 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law on May 24, 2018.

With respect to certain states mandating training requirements, FINRA shares that the following states have laws related to training requirements:

The training program is a free resource available to firms and is titled, “Addressing and Reporting Financial Exploitation of Senior and Vulnerable Adult Investors”. The training program is intended to be employed by firms comply with the training on how to detect, prevent, and report financial exploitation of senior and vulnerable adult investors.

The training program includes a presentation for firms on how to implement the requirements of the Senior Safe Act and certain state training requirements (as specified above) relating to senior investment protection. Specifically, the Senior Safe Act protects “covered financial institutions”, from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding for reporting a case of potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency. The Senior Safe Act defines covered financial institutions to consist of investment advisers, broker-dealers, and transfer agents, including their eligible employees, affiliated persons, and associated persons.

The legal and administrative immunity set forth in the Senior Safe Act is conditioned on employees receiving training on how to identify and report exploitative activity against seniors before making a report. In addition, reports of suspected exploitation must be made “in good faith” and “with reasonable care.” This legal and administrative immunity applies to both individuals and firms.

In addition to the links provided above, the training presentation is available on NASAA’s website at

or on the SEC’s website at

or FINRA’s website at

Any questions should be referred to Emily Micale.