The House Financial Services Committee is set to vote today on the Retail Investor Protection Act (RIPA), which is being offered as an alternative to the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) proposed fiduciary rule. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.
Wagner's legislation would prohibit the Labor Department from instituting new rules governing financial services before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reviews the proposed regulations. The bill has the support of both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.
A similar measure was passed by House in 2013, but died in the Senate for lack of action. The RIPA legislation again faces an uphill climb in the upper chamber, and if it passed there, would most certainly be vetoed by President Barack Obama.
Wagner was undaunted during a House Financial Services Committee hearing earlier this month.
“Washington needs to be empowering Americans to save for retirement,” she said. “I look forward to working with more members across the aisle.”
Wagner’s legislation also would prohibit the SEC from issuing a uniform standard of conduct without first showing that harm would come to retail investors without it. SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White has indicated the SEC is not close to producing any fiduciary proposal.
Any delays hamper the DOL’s chances of getting a rule done in time. The Obama administration has said it wants to pass the rule before the president leaves office in January 2017.
Opponents of the DOL rule say it endangers small savers and will make it harder for them to get access to sound retirement advice. In addition, they say the rule will force costly compliance mandates on anyone who deals with retirement accounts.
Also today, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a 10 a.m. hearing on the DOL proposal.
The DOL final rule is expected to be issued in December at the earliest.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected].
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