Groups representing both sides of the fiduciary debate were quick to respond to news yesterday that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the entirety of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. Here's what some of them had to say.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Financial Services Institute, Financial Services Roundtable, Insured Retirement Institute, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (plaintiffs):
"The court has ruled on the side of America's retirement savers, preserving access to affordable financial advice. Our organizations have long supported the development of a best interest standard of care and the Securities and Exchange Commission should now take the lead on a clear, consistent, and workable standard that does not limit choice for investors."
Consumer Federation of America:
"This case was wrongly decided. The industry opponents went forum shopping and finally found a court that was willing to buy in to their bogus arguments. This is a sad day for retirement savers.
"Also, the opinion is extreme by any measure. It strikes at the essence of the DOL's authority to protect retirement savers under ERISA. It's not only an attack on the rule, it's an attack on the agency."
Dirk Kempthorne, president of the American Council of Life Insurers, and Kevin Mayeux, CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors:
"The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court's decision on the Labor Department's fiduciary regulation is a win for Americans preparing for retirement.
"We look forward to working with state insurance regulators, the Labor Department, SEC, Finra and Congress on a harmonized and uniform best interest standard of care for investment advice. A collaborative approach would ensure all consumers receive retirement savings information and related financial guidance from financial professionals acting in their best interest, regardless of the retirement products they purchase."
Stephen W. Hall, legal director and securities specialist at Better Markets:
"The Fifth Circuit's decision is a terrible setback in the fight for the simple, common sense principle that Americans saving for retirement deserve investment advice that is in their best interest.
"The opinion is infused with hostility toward the DOL and the rule itself. That tenor has no place in a decision of a federal circuit court, particularly on a matter of such enormous importance to the public. There is a retirement crisis in this country and this decision is going to make it much worse than it otherwise would have been. Those real-life facts for hardworking Americans merit the utmost respect."
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.):
"Yesterday's ruling reaffirms what I have always said, the Department of Labor fiduciary rule was an ill-advised, top-down assault on local financial advisers and broker-dealers. This Obama-era attempt to regulate virtually every aspect of the financial sector cost tens of thousands of jobs, increased prices for consumers seeking financial guidance, and limited choices and options in the marketplace.
"The Securities and Exchange Commission is the rightful regulator of the fiduciary rule and must fill that role in a way that protects consumers from bad actors, while allowing hard-working Americans access to affordable, sound financial advice to prepare for the future."
Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:
"The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a legally flawed decision … In addition to misapplying the law, the opinion conflicted with the decisions of every other court to consider the rule, discounted the dramatic changes in the retirement landscape over the last 40 years, and worst of all, potentially costs retirement savers as much as $17 billion annually. The court's faulty reasoning also threatens the Labor Department's very ability to protect retirement investors now and in the future."
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee:
"The flawed DOL fiduciary rule is the epitome of regulatory overreach that would harm the very people it's allegedly intended to help.
"I look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress — like Rep. Ann Wagner, who has been a leader on this issue — to enact a clear and workable standard that empowers Americans with their own futures, as opposed to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats."