Frank Asks DoL to Back Off on New Fiduciary Proposal

You can add another voice to the chorus of those calling for the Labor Department to backoff of its proposed fiduciary definition expansion – Congressman Barney Frank.


On Thursday, Frank (D-Massachusetts), who also happens to be the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, wrote to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to “strongly urge” the DoL to “withdraw and repropose” the rule “in coordination with both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission”. 

“I agree that ERISA rules may need to be updated,” Frank said in the letter.  “But it is important to do this in a way that does not have adverse effects on the choices available to consumers, municipalities and pension plans, among others.” 

Since its introduction last October, the Department of Labor’s proposed expansion of the fiduciary rule has drawn a growing amount of criticism (see EBSA Faces More Criticism on Definition of Fiduciary Proposal, “Net ‘Net’, “Definition ‘Null’). 

For its part, the Labor Department has said that the proposed rule is designed to “take account of significant changes” in both the financial industry and what was described as “the expectations of plan officials and participants who receive investment advice,” as well as to protect participants from “conflicts of interest and self-dealing.” (see “Wider World, “PSNC 2011: Who is the New Fiduciary?).