Provision to kill DOL fiduciary rule included in new bill to replace Dodd-Frank

Measure also contains requirement for SEC to conduct 'rigorous' cost-benefit analysis before proposing its own fiduciary-advice rule

Sep 9, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

Republican lawmakers haven't given up on trying to kill a Labor Department rule that would change investment advice standards for retirement accounts.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, introduced a bill Friday that includes a provision to repeal the DOL rule, according to spokesman Jeff Emerson.

Mr. Hensarling started revealing details about the bill in June. The House financial panel will begin debating and voting on the bill Tuesday.

(Related read: FAQs: The most comprehensive fiduciary database)

The measure also contains a provision requiring the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct a “rigorous” cost-benefit analysis before proposing its own advice rule that pertains to all retail accounts.

The final version of the DOL rule, which requires advisers to 401(k) and individual retirement accounts to act in the best interests of their clients, was released in April.

A congressional resolution to stop the rule was vetoed by President Barack Obama, who asserts that regulation is needed to protect workers and retirees from conflicted advice that results in the sale of high-fee investment products that erode retirement savings.

Republican and industry critics of the rule assert it would impose regulatory burdens and liability risks on advisers that would sharply increase the expense of giving and receiving advice.

(Related read: The DOL fiduciary rule will forever change financial advice, and the industry has to adapt)

“The administration's complicated red tape will just make that advice more costly and less available for workers and retirees with modest incomes,” Mr. Hensarling said in April, after his vote in favor of the House resolution. “Congress must act to stop this misguided regulation that's unfair to Americans who only want the freedom to plan for financial independence and the right to shape their own future.”

It's unclear how far Mr. Hensarling's bill — the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) — will advance before the end of the congressional session in December.

Voting on it in committee now lays the foundation for Mr. Hensarling to reintroduce it in the new Congress next year.

Republicans might also try to halt the DOL rule with a rider on a federal spending bill that is working its way through Congress but may not get a final vote until the lame-duck session after the election.

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