Government Affairs Update

November 1, 2021


IRI Blueprint Proposal Introduced in Congress

The Financial Fitness Act, introduced last week by Representatives Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN), would direct the Secretary of the Department of Education to create a centralized, personal financial education portal for the recipients of federal financial aid to provide information about personal finance concepts including retirement planning and savings. In a letter of support, IRI wrote “Adding a requirement to include counseling information about planning and saving for retirement will provide a helpful new tool to those who have received federal student aid. It will empower them as they enter the workforce with valuable information about the different types of retirement savings accounts and help them make well-informed financial decisions about their retirement years during their working years.”

IRI called for the inclusion of retirement planning and savings information in financial literacy counseling for student loan borrowers in the 2021 Federal Retirement Security Blueprint. IRI is working with the bill’s sponsors to build additional support for the bill. We will provide updates in GAU when necessary.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.

IRI Webinar: “Making Compliant Rollover Recommendations”

On November 17 at 1:00 pm ET, IRI is hosting a webinar entitled “Making Compliant Rollover Recommendations.” During the webinar, a panel of experts will discuss:

  • Regulatory challenges and opportunities presented by the increased regulatory focus on IRA Rollover recommendations.
  • How insurance carriers, broker-dealers, and investment advisors can make compliant rollover recommendations.
  • Tools, documentation and disclosures needed to help financial professionals make informed rollover recommendations.

Meet the Experts

  • Jason Berkowitz, Chief Legal & Regulatory Affairs Officer, Insured Retirement Institute
  • Rob Dearman, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer, DCG Insight
  • Parham Nasseri, Vice President, Regulatory Strategy, InvestorCOM
  • Ed Wegener, Managing Director, Oyster Consulting, LLC

Register Here.


IRI-Supported Retirement Provisions Dropped from Reconciliation

The draft of the parred back Build Back Better Act released last week had dropped the IRI-supported measure which would have required all but the smallest of employers to offer a retirement savings plan to their employees and requiring those plans include a lifetime income distribution option. These provisions were dropped during negotiations to reduce the total cost of the package.

IRI will continue to work with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) to build support for these proposals.

Any questions should be referred to Paul Richman.

Aging Committee Explores Retirement Security During Hearing

On October 28, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing entitled “A Financially Secure Future: Building a Stronger Retirement System for All Americans.” In his opening statement, Committee Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA) noted he voted in favor of the SECURE Act and said, “This year, Congress is considering many bipartisan proposals to build upon the SECURE Act and expand access to retirement plans, including auto-enrolling workers and making it easier to carry a retirement plan with you when you change jobs. So, as we consider these proposals, let us not forget about continuing to both protect and strengthen Social Security, which is the bedrock of our retirement system.”

Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) used his opening statement to address leakage from retirement accounts, saying, “The average person today will work for — it’s between seven and 11 employers. That means that every time you change jobs, you have a chance to withdraw your money from your 401k. And that’s what we mean by leakage. About $92 billion leaked out.” Senator Scott also announced the publication of his report “The American Dream in our Golden Years: Improving Retirement Security and Building Independence.” The report “highlights how well Americans are prepared for retirement today, what gaps exist in our retirement system, the impact recent reforms have undertaken to fill those gaps, and solutions for the future to help millions of Americans save for retirement and enjoy their golden years.”

IRI submitted a statement for the record to the members of the committee prior to the hearing. In the statement, IRI highlighted recent research demonstrating the growing anxiety and insecurity felt by America’s workers and retirees about not having enough savings to live comfortably during their retirement years and noted recent IRI-conducted research that showed ahigh level of interest from workers for including protected lifetime income solutions in workplace retirement saving plans. IRI’s statement also emphasized the many common-sense, bipartisan solutions included in IRI’s 2021 Retirement Security Blueprint which have already been included in legislation during this session of Congress.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.

House Financial Services Announces November Hearing Schedule

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) announced the committee’s hearing schedule for November.

  • November 2 at 10:00 am ET: Task Force on Financial Technology: “Buy Now, Pay More Later? Investigating Risks and Benefits of BNPL and Other Emerging Fintech Cash Flow Products”
  • November 3 at 10:00 am ET: Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions: “Cyber Threats, Consumer Data, and the Financial System”
  • November 4 at 10:00 am ET: Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy: “From Timber to Tungsten: How the Exploitation of Natural Resources Funds Rogue Organizations and Regimes”
  • November 9 at 12:00 pm ET: Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion: “There’s No Pride in Prejudice: Eliminating Barriers to Full Economic Inclusion for the LGBTQ+ Community”

IRI will monitor the House Financial Services Committee and provide any necessary updates in GAU.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.


Texas Adopts Annuity Suitability Disclosure Rules

The Texas Department of Insurance has adopted new rules that promulgate the disclosure forms from Appendix A, B, and C in the NAIC Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation. While the rules specify that use of the NAIC Model disclosure forms will be sufficient, TDI has also drafted its own forms (FIN194, FIN195, FIN196) to satisfy the disclosure requirements. The effective date of the rules is November 7, 2021.

Any questions should be referred to Sarah Wood.

IRI Submits Letter of Support for SIFMA’s Comments on FINRA’s Proposed Changes to Amend Customer Account Statements Rule

On October 27, IRI submitted a letter of support for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) comment letter in response to FINRA’s Proposed Rule Change (proposed rule change) to Amend FINRA Rule 2231 (Customer Account Statements).

Below is a summary of some key takeaways from SIFMA’s comments:

  • A key concern for SIFMA in this proposed rule change is presented in its Supplemental Material .02’s proposed requirement to continue to send duplicate account statements to customers in contravention to their express wishes or the instructions of a person with appropriate legal authority over the customer’s affairs, including an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact appointed under a valid Durable or Springing Power of Attorney (“POA”).
    • SIFMA requests FINRA reconsider an exception to the continuous delivery requirement to include an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact appointed under a valid Durable or Springing POA.
  • SIFMA asks FINRA to clarify the language of its proposed rule change as it relates to its proposal to the use of Summary Statements and FINRA’s proposed adoption of the requirements of NYSE Rule Interpretation 409T(a)/06.
    • SIFMA points out the rule text refers to “a written agreement between the clearing firm and each other person jointly providing its respective customer account statements…” 
    • Therefore, SIFMA requests “that FINRA clarify in the final rule that written agreements can be required between affiliates for jointly prepared statements, but not between the clearing firm and an affiliate that is not a broker-dealer.”
  • SIFMA sets forth that the proposed rule change’s current timeframe for implementation and compliance is not reasonable and/or sufficient.
    • “As written, this Proposal will require significant cost and time to operationalize a final rule, and we request an effective date no earlier than June 1, 2023.”
    • Therefore, SIFMA recommends that “should a rule be finalized this year or early next, FINRA sets an effective date of June 1, 2023, which will allow our members to budget for and build out their systems to comply with a final rule.”

IRI’s letter of support of SIFMA’s comments was reviewed and approved by our Securities Committee. We will continue to follow any developments by FINRA in response to comments received and any revisions proposed.

Any questions should be referred to Emily Micale.



IRI Presenting at NCSL Insurance Task Force Meeting

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is holding its annual Insurance Task Force meeting on November 2, during which IRI will present on the recent updates to the NAIC best interest model regulation. The session will provide information to state legislatures about the updates, the importance of uniform adoption, and “lessons learned” along the way. In addition to IRI, representatives from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) will also be presenting during this session.

Any questions should be referred to Sarah Wood.