Secretary of Labor Gets Agreement from SEC to Review Fiduciary Rule

During a hearing, Acosta claimed that previously the SEC did not work jointly with the DOL on the rule.

By Rebecca Moore | June 29, 2017
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During live testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcomittee on Labor, Health and Human Service, Education and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta was questioned about the Department of Labor (DOL)’s budget proposal for FY 2018, as well as other topics.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) told Acosta that businesses are complaining about burdensome regulations, including the fiduciary rule. Acosta replied that the agency is examining all regulations on the books to determine if they are necessary.

In a surprise response to a question from Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) about whether the DOL is having conversations with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about the fiduciary rule, Acosta claimed that previously the SEC did not work jointly with the DOL on the rule. Acosta told the committee he has asked the new SEC chair whether the SEC will work with the DOL on reviewing the rule and the SEC chair is willing to do so. “As they receive [a full staff] of commissioners, they will work with the DOL,” he said.

In a general comment, Acosta said he believes compliance assistance is more important than enforcement, and he also believes it is better to prevent violations than to wait until something happens and the DOL has to sue.

Among other topics, to date, the position for Assistant Secretary for the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has not been filled. When asked by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) when the Senate will get more nominations for subcommittee leadership, Acosta noted that he is approaching his 60-day mark as Labor Secretary and his goal is to have subcommittee leadership in place by then.

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