WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 1, 2016
As a country, we face a number of significant retirement challenges. Far too many men and women are leaving the workforce without the financial security they need when they retire. Policymakers should be looking for opportunities to make it easier for working families—especially low- and middle-income families—to successfully plan for their retirement years. The last thing Washington should do is create barriers to the retirement security the American people need.
That is why bipartisan concerns have been raised with a regulatory proposal that will dramatically alter how families and small business owners receive financial advice. Many working families rely on the assistance of trusted financial advisors to help lay the foundation for a secure retirement. Many small business owners also rely on this advice when putting together a retirement plan for their workers. Yet a proposed regulation by the Department of Labor would impose a host of costly new mandates and burdensome regulations on financial advisors that provide retirement advice. This regulatory scheme will impose significant harm on those most in need of assistance:
- Some of the most basic advice would be prohibited, such as assistance in rolling over funds from a 401(k) to an IRA or determining how funds are to be distributed upon retirement.
- Small business owners will be denied help in selecting the right investment options for their employees, which means fewer small businesses will offer employees a retirement plan.
- Low- and middle-income families with fewer resources to invest will lose access to advice or have to pay substantially higher fees in order to continue seeing their trusted advisors.
To strengthen the retirement security of working Americans, Republicans and Democrats have put forward a responsible legislative solution that will improve existing policies governing financial advice without hurting low- and middle-income families. The Affordable Retirement Advice Protection Act
(H.R. 4293), introduced by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), and the Strengthening Access to Valuable Education and Retirement Support Act
(H.R. 4294), introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), will ensure financial advisors serve their clients’ best interests and preserve access to affordable retirement advice. These complementary, bipartisan proposals require an affirmative vote by Congress before any final rule by the Department of Labor goes into effect. If Congress fails to approve the department’s proposal, new policies will take effect that:
- Strengthen retirement planning by requiring financial advisors to serve their clients' best interests;
- Enhance transparency and accountability through clear, simple, and relevant disclosure requirements;
- Ensure small business owners continue receiving the help they need to provide retirement plans for their employees; and
- Protect access to high-quality, affordable retirement advice so more Americans can retire with the dignity and financial security they deserve.